National Gaze

Justice Department extends full equality to same-sex married couples

Written by The Associated Press Sunday, 09 February 2014 17:56

Attorney General Eric Holder announced last night that the Department of Justice is applying a landmark Supreme Court ruling to all proceedings under the department’s jurisdiction.

The sweeping policy change means that same-sex spouses cannot be compelled to testify against each other, should be eligible to file for bankruptcy jointly and are entitled to the same rights and privileges as federal prison inmates in opposite-sex marriages.

Blue Cross changes course, to offer benefits to N.C. families

Written by The AP Friday, 31 January 2014 08:03

North Carolina's largest insurer is reversing course and now says it will offer family coverage to same-sex married couples and domestic partners in new policies.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina said this week it's making the change for policies sold starting next week and taking effect March 1.

Waging the War on Poverty

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Friday, 24 January 2014 17:42

NEXT STEPS: President Barack Obama speaks on Jan. 9 at the White House about his plan to create jobs, increase economic security, expand educational opportunities, increase access to quality, affordable housing and improve public safety. -PHOTO: AP/Carolyn Kaster

“We shall not rest until that war is won,” Lyndon Johnson said 50 years ago, declaring “an unconditional war on poverty.” But from time to time, administration to administration, there has been rest and there has been retreat in the fight.

Affordable housing for LGBT seniors opens in Philadelphia

Written by The Associated Press Monday, 20 January 2014 18:25

The opening of an affordable housing complex for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender seniors in downtown Philadelphia vindicates years of work by supporters who felt gay elders have been marginalized by youth culture.

Only two other U.S. cities have similar developments.

Hobby Lobby ruling fuels drive for stronger LGBT rights bill

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Thursday, 24 July 2014 10:45

President Barack Obama on July 21 signed an executive order aimed at protecting LGBT workers employed by the federal government and by federal contractors. The order did not contain broad religious exemptions such as those in the version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act pending in the House. — Photo: White House

Support for an LGBT civil rights bill that contains broad religious exemptions is dwindling following the Supreme Court ruling that corporations have religious beliefs and can impose them on their employees.

Family fight: GOP debates next move on immigration

Written by The Associated Press Friday, 31 January 2014 07:30

House Republicans wrestled inconclusively with the outlines of immigration legislation Thursday night, sharply divided over the contentious issue itself and the political wisdom of acting on it in an election year.

At a three-day retreat on the frozen banks of the Choptank River on Maryland's Eastern Shore, GOP leaders circulated an outline that would guide the drafting of any House Republican legislation on the subject — a document that Speaker John Boehner told the rank and file was as far as the party was willing to go.

Hoosiers hold back marriage amendment

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Friday, 24 January 2014 17:37

HOOSIER HOSPITALITY: Opponents of a measure to amend the Indiana Constitution to ban gay marriage listen to debate on the measure outside a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee at the Statehouse in Indianapolis on Jan. 13. -PHOTO: AP/Michael Conroy

Conservatives in Indiana seem to be shooting bricks in what could be the last drive in America to enact an anti-gay marriage amendment. But civil rights advocates say they must keep up the full court press until the legislative session ends.

Virginia emerges as key state in gay marriage fight

Written by The Associated Press Monday, 20 January 2014 05:31

Almost overnight, Virginia has emerged as a critical state in the nationwide fight to grant gay men and women the right to wed.

This purple state was once perceived as unfriendly and even bordering on hostile to gay rights. That's changed after a seismic political shift in the top three elected offices, from conservative Republicans to liberal Democrats who support gay marriage.

State of the Union thrills some, disappoints others

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Sunday, 09 February 2014 11:43

President Barack Obama is greeted by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, along with, from left, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, after stepping from Air Force One upon his arrival in Milwaukee on Jan. 30. The president visited General Electric’s Waukesha Gas Engines facility to speak about job training. The visit was part of his post-State of the Union tour. - PHOTO: AP

President Barack Obama promised in his State of the Union a year of action on the economy and environment, equality and immigration — and he said he’s ready to leave Congress in the dust to reach the administration’s goals.

Report: FDA allowed harmful antibiotics in farm animals

Written by WiG reports Tuesday, 28 January 2014 12:20

The Food and Drug Administration allowed 30 potentially harmful antibiotics, including 18 rated as “high risk,” to remain on the market as additives in farm animal feed and water, according to records obtained by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The data, released on Jan. 28, show the use of the drugs in livestock likely exposes humans to antibiotic resistant bacteria through the food supply, the NRDC said. The FDA’s reviews of the antibiotics occurred between 2001 and 2010, yet the drugs remain approved and, in many cases, on the market for use in industrial animal agriculture operations.

The Presidential Commission on Election Administration released its report — required under executive order from the president — recommending expanding early voting opportunities and online voter registration.

The 10-member commission said should have to wait in line for more than 30 minutes to vote in the 8,000 jurisdictions that administer elections in the United States.

Former U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull sent hundreds of racist emails while on the bench

Written by The Associated Press Sunday, 19 January 2014 12:04

Former U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull was nominated by President George W. Bush.

A former U.S. judge who was being investigated for forwarding a racist email involving President Barack Obama sent hundreds of other inappropriate messages from his federal email account, according to the findings of a judicial review panel released on Jan. 15.