National

Alabama marriage equality battle echoes epic fights

Written by From WiG
and AP reports
Thursday, 26 February 2015 12:47

Olanda Smith, left, and Dinah McCaryer show off their certificate at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Birmingham, Alabama.
— PHOTO: Hal Yeager/AP

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s office overlooks Montgomery’s Dexter Avenue, a history-soaked thoroughfare topped by the Alabama Capitol, where Jefferson Davis was inaugurated president of the Confederacy and where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. ended the 1965 march for voting rights.

Hundreds mark 50 years since Malcolm X’s assassination

Written by FRANK ELTMAN,
Associated Press writer
Monday, 23 February 2015 09:46

Activists, actors and politicians gathered on Feb. 20 in New York City to honor civil rights leader Malcolm X with a ceremony at the Harlem site where he was killed 50 years ago.

About 300 people gathered to hear remarks from one of Malcolm X’s six daughters, Ilyasah Shabazz, as well as elected officials. The ceremony was held at the Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center, formerly known as the Audubon Ballroom.

High court sets stage for historic ruling on marriage

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Thursday, 29 January 2015 05:54

The U.S. Supreme Court this spring will take up cases seeking to overturn bans on same-sex marriage in four states, setting the stage for a national — and historic — ruling on the freedom to marry in America.

Tammy Faye’s remote Kansas grave is covered with tributes of mascara and lip gloss

Written by Beccy Tanner,
Wichita Eagle writer
Saturday, 24 January 2015 07:24

-PHOTO: From the documentary 'The Eyes of Tammy Faye'

On the edge of Kansas’ wind-swept prairie, near a nondescript grave, sits the most recent token of affection — a tube of lip gloss.

Right ramps up push for religious refusal bills

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Thursday, 26 February 2015 12:45

A florist who refused service to a same-sex couple planning a wedding broke the law in Washington state. That’s the ruling of a circuit court judge in a case closely watched by marriage equality advocates and opponents across the country.

Benton County Superior Judge Alex Ekstrom, in a 60-page ruling issued on Feb. 18 in Richland, Washington, said the religious beliefs of the owner of Arlene’s Flowers are protected by the First Amendment, but actions based on those beliefs may not be protected.

Census: 1 in 5 children on food stamps

Written by The Associated Press Tuesday, 03 February 2015 07:33

Sixteen million children were on food stamps as of last year, the highest number since the nation's economy tumbled in 2008.

Numbers released by the Census Bureau as part of its annual look at children and families show that one in five children were on food stamp assistance in 2014. The survey was taken last spring.

Judge allows felony abuse-of-power case against Rick Perry to move forward

Written by The Associated Press Tuesday, 27 January 2015 20:31

A Texas judge has refused to dismiss a felony abuse-of-power case against former Gov. Rick Perry on constitutional grounds, ruling that criminal charges against the possible 2016 presidential candidate should stand.

Video shows cop shoot unarmed black man with hands raised

Written by Sean Carlin
and Geoff Mulvihill,
AP writers
Thursday, 22 January 2015 17:35

Another police killing is stirring anger in a U.S. city, this time in New Jersey, where a tense traffic stop captured on video ended with a passenger shot to death as he stepped out of a car with his hands raised at shoulder height.

Defense secretary comments on transgender military service

Written by Wisconsin Gazette Monday, 23 February 2015 11:07

Department of Defense Secretary Ashton Carter addressed the issue of military service by transgender people — who are currently prohibited from serving openly — in a town hall in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

When asked about transgender service members serving in “austere environments” such as Afghanistan, Carter replied, in part, “And I don’t think anything but their suitability for service should preclude them.”

Fond du Lac nuns get Northrop Grumman to drop ALEC

Written by Brendan Fischer,
Center for Media
and Democracy
Friday, 30 January 2015 08:58

Defense contractor Northrop Grumman has ended its relationship with the American Legislative Exchange Council, thanks to shareholder engagement from the Fond du Lac, Wisconsin-based Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes.

Judge orders largest restitution ever in dog-fighting case

Written by The Associated Press Monday, 26 January 2015 07:01

A federal judge in Alabama ordered participants in a high-stakes dogfighting operation to pay a record $2 million in restitution for their animals' care.

Civil rights groups guide Congress on education bill

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Tuesday, 13 January 2015 08:02

Nearly 20 civil rights groups and education advocates released shared civil rights principles for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

In the principles, the groups highlight the important and historic role the federal government has played during the 50 years since the ESEA was originally passed in promoting educational opportunity and protecting the rights and interests of students disadvantaged by discrimination, poverty, and other conditions that may limit their educational attainment.