By Jim Forsyth SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Reuters) - Two gay couples in Texas will ask a federal court this week to overturn an amendment to the state's constitution barring same-sex marriage that has been staunchly supported by prominent Republican party leaders. Even though 17 states and the District of Columbia now allow same-sex marriages, the activist group Freedom to Marry says this will be the first attempt to win recognition for same-sex marriage in the deep South, where every state has a constitutional amendment or law banning the practice. The suit in Texas, aimed at nullifying the 2005 amendment, goes to court in San Antonio on Wednesday. It was filed by a high-powered law firm on behalf of two men in the Dallas area and two women in Austin. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, the front-runner in the race this year for governor, has said the state has the right to establish its own marriage policies and will defend the amendment that passed with about 70 percent of voter support. Lawyers for the couples plan to argue that the amendment runs counter to the U.S. Constitution and is a "badge of inferiority." "It is undeniable that the arc of social justice points in the direction of marriage equality," said lead counsel for the plaintiffs, Neel Lane, who is from the Akin Gump law firm. Lane says because marriage carries with it numerous legal benefits, to deny those benefits to gays and lesbians violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Abbott, in his response filed with the court, argues that gays and lesbians are not victims of discrimination under existing law. "The U.S. Supreme Court was clear that states have independent authority to establish their marriage laws. Texans adopted a constitutional amendment defining marriage. We will defend that amendment," Abbott's office said in a statement. Rick Perry, the current governor and former Republican candidate for president, has said he "believes in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, regarding it as the linchpin of the family unit and, thus, society as a whole." The suit was filed on behalf of Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman, two women who live in Austin and were married in Massachusetts, and Victor Holmes and Mark Phariss, two men who were denied a marriage license when they applied last year. Dimetman and her partner are both military veterans and were legally married in Massachusetts in 2001. They were told they could not jointly adopt a child in Texas because the state does not recognize the legality of their marriage. They have been encouraged by what has been happening on the federal level with the Supreme Court in June striking down part of a 1996 federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act, which barred the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Saturday announced widespread changes within the Justice Department to benefit same-sex married couples, such as recognizing a legal right for them not to testify against each other in civil and criminal cases. "We are very fortunate that we live in a wonderful country that strives to be ever more inclusive every day," Dimetman said. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia, appointed by Democratic President Bill Clinton, will hear the case. The case is Cleopatra De Leon, Nicole Dimetman, Victor Holmes and Mark Phariss versus Rick Perry, Greg Abbott, Gerard Rickhoff and David Lakey (all in their official capacities) (Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Tom Brown)
How strong is Wanda? Will we see some of these characters again? Insider rounds up every lingering question you may have after the Marvel finale.
- The Independent
Activist group says Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley ‘deserve most blame for firing up violent mob of Trump supporters that attacked US Capitol and killed five people’
- Martha Stewart Living
Named after the "God of Chaos," this rock could actually collide with our planet in 2068.
This week's surprise decision by Saudi Arabia and other top oil producers to broadly stick with output cuts despite rising crude prices was influenced by events in an unexpected place - Italy. "Take a look at what is happening in Milan today," Saudi energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud told a news conference on Thursday after a meeting of OPEC and its allies. Restrictions on movement destroyed up to a fifth of oil demand last year and led OPEC and its allies - known as OPEC+ - to make record output cuts.
- Business Insider
Sinema appeared to curtsy as she gave her thumbs-down to the Senate clerk, prompting some progressives to condemn her for appearing enthusiastic.
Opponents of Myanmar's military coup face daily threats and violence, and yet defiance continues.
- Business Insider
SpaceX has criticized the DoJ's subpoena for its investigation into alleged hiring discrimination as the 'very definition of government overreach'
SpaceX reportedly refused to comply with a subpoena asking for documents after a job candidate accused the company of discriminatory hiring processes.
Maren Eggert accepted the award for best actor, in the German event's newly mixed gender category.
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He had enrolled himself for vaccination when the program started and visited the zonal hospital to get the vaccine early in the morning to avoid security concerns. He was administered with AstraZeneca's COVISHIELD vaccine.The Dalai Lama, after getting the dose, appealed to everyone eligible to get vaccinated as well as to take care of their health.India allowed vaccination for general public from March 01. In the second phase, India is vaccinating those over the age of 60 years and 45 years plus with co-morbidities.In 1959 failed uprising of Tibet, which was brutally suppressed by the Chinese government, thousands of Tibetans fled to India, including their spiritual leader Dalai Lama. Since then, he has been running a parallel government from his hilly abode in Dharamsala.
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Pope Francis landed in Baghdad for what's been described as the most risky foreign trip of his time leading the Roman Catholic Church.The pontiff touched down slightly ahead of schedule at Baghdad International Airport on Friday (March 5) afternoon.He said he felt duty-bound to make the "emblematic" visit because Iraq had suffered so much for so long."It is essential to ensure the participation of all political, social, and religious groups and to guarantee the fundamental rights of all citizens. May no one be considered a second-class citizen. I encourage the strides made so far on this journey and I trust that they will strengthen tranquility and concord."The first stop was to meet Iraqi President Barham Salih at the presidential palace, where a red carpet, military band, and flock of doves greeted him.Iraq has deployed thousands of additional security personnel to protect the 84-year-old. And while he usually insists on traveling in simple and small cars, this Friday saw him in a bulletproof BMW within a massive motorcade.The country has suffered a spate of rocket and suicide bomb attacks that have raised fears for the pope’s safety.Naem Faouzi was part of a selected group of Iraqi Christians permitted to make a journey to see the pope shortly after he arrived."I never thought that I would see the Pope, honestly. It was a visit we believed to be impossible. Even though the country's conditions are poor, infrastructure is poor. (We thought) it was impossible, but it was the best surprise."Francis's whirlwind tour will take him by plane, helicopter, and possibly armored car to four cities, including areas that most foreign dignitaries are unable to reach, let alone in such a short space of time.The pope will also be making a another scheduled stop, to say Mass at a Baghdad church where militants killed 50 worshippers n 2010.
The European Union has promised legal action after the British government unilaterally extended a grace period for checks on food imports to Northern Ireland, a move that Brussels said breached the terms of London's EU divorce deal. Provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement and the protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland set out the EU's course of action. Britain signed them when it formally left the EU in January 2020.
China's proposal for Hong Kong electoral reforms could prevent a "dictatorship of the majority", pro-Beijing Hong Kong lawmaker Martin Liao told Reuters on Saturday. The Chinese parliament is discussing plans to overhaul Hong Kong's electoral system to ensure Beijing loyalists are in charge. Hong Kong representatives, in Beijing for an annual session, say the change is necessary and desirable.
'Lesson fully received': An 18-year-old charged in the Capitol riot says he was 'wrong' and begged a judge to release him
A Georgia teenager who boasted on Instagram about storming the Capitol in January begged a federal judge to release him ahead of his trial.
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"This plan will get checks out the door, starting this month, to the American people who so desperately need the help," Biden said Saturday.
President Biden said Saturday that the Senate passage of his $1.9 trillion COVID relief package means the $1,400 direct payments for most Americans can begin going out later this month. Driving the news: The Senate voted 50-49 Saturday to approve the sweeping legislation. The House is expected to pass the Senate's version of the bill next week before it heads to Biden's desk for his signature.Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for freeThe big picture: As part of the legislation, individuals who make less than $75,000 or heads of households who make up to $112,500 will qualify for the $1,400 payments. Couples who make less than $150,000 will get $2,800.Individuals who make between $75,000 and $80,000 and couples who earn between $150,000 and $160,000 will receive a reduced payment.Parents who qualify will get an additional $1,400 for every child claimed on their most recent tax returns.What he's saying: "Everything that is in this package is designed to relieve the suffering and meet the most urgent needs of the nation and put us in a better position to prevail," Biden said following the Saturday passage of the bill. "This plan will get checks out the door, starting this month to the American people who so desperately need the help," he added. "The resources in this plan will be used to expand and speed up manufacturing and distribution of vaccines so we can get every single American vaccinated sooner rather than later.""I promised the American people that help is on the way. Today, I can say we've taken one more giant step forward in delivering on that promise." The bottom line: "This plan puts us on a path to beating the virus. This plan gives those families who are struggling the most the help and breathing room to get through this moment. This plan gives small businesses in this country a fighting chance to survive," Biden said. More from Axios: Sign up to get the latest market trends with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free
A Missouri pastor is reportedly seeking 'professional counseling' after he told women to lose weight and strive to be like Melania Trump for their husbands
Pastor Stewart-Allen Clark of Missouri's Malden First General Baptist Church gushed over an "epic trophy wife" and warned, "don't let yourself go."
- The Telegraph
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex 'called all the PR shots', say royal sources despite Oprah interview claims she was gagged
The Duchess of Sussex “called all the shots” when it came to managing her own media, royal sources have said, casting doubt on her claim she could not be interviewed by Oprah Winfrey three years ago. Multiple royal sources have told The Telegraph the 39-year-old former actress “had full control” over her media interviews and had personally forged relationships not only with Ms Winfrey, but other powerful industry figures including Vogue editor Edward Enninful. In a teaser clip released from the Sussexes’s interview with the US chat show host, due to be aired in the US on Sunday, the Duchess said it felt “liberating” to be able to speak and accused the Royal family of effectively gagging her and taking away that choice. “It’s really liberating to be able to have the right and the privilege in some ways to be able to say yes, I’m ready to talk, to be able to make a choice on your own and be able to speak for yourself,” the Duchess said. In the clip, the Duchess and Ms Winfrey reference the fact that a royal aide was listening in to their first phone call in February 2018, although it is understood the pair had spoken privately before then.
Former NBA star Deron Williams says he tried to recruit star players to the Jazz but no one wanted to play in Utah
Deron Williams said he knew he needed help to make the Jazz contenders, but he couldn't find other stars that wanted to join him in Utah.
Even with all the compromises—and the agita on the left—the Covid relief bill may be just what the Democrats needed to deliver.
Past US presidents have left a legacy of untruths ranging from the bizarre to the horrifying.