You need to know this. After last week's historic Prop 8 ruling, same-sex couples in California were told they would have to wait at least 25 days to get married. However, Attorney General Kamala Harris asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to speed things up, and allow people to marry sooner. And, that's exactly what they did. On Friday afternoon, the three-judge panel issued a one sentence ruling, which said: “the stay in the above matter is dissolved effective immediately.” The news of the ten-word ruling spread rapidly, and couples flocked to City Halls around the state to exchange nuptials, including the two couples that brought the Prop 8 case. Attorney General Harris married Kristin Perry and Sandra Stier in front of a crowd of hundreds, and Paul Katami and Jeff Zarillo were wed on live television, in a ceremony led by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villarigosa. Both couples had waited over 4 years, and fought through lengthy legal battles for the right to exchange vows. Opponents of marriage equality called the Ninth Circuit's decision an “outrageous act,” because they hadn't announced whether they would ask the Supreme Court to reconsider last week's ruling. Typically, they would have 25 days to petition the Court to reverse its decision. But, state officials celebrated the news, and refused to back down to the anti-gay-marriage crowd. Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom tweeted, “Love will rule the weekend. Congrats to all those planning to get married.” After a four-year delay, the weekend was full of love and celebration in California. Congrats to the all the happy couples!
In screwed news... Recently we heard about a fast-food worker who was being paid via a prepaid Chase debit card, which included multiple fees that cut into her minimum wage income. Now, we find out that she isn't alone. According to the New York Times, more and more low-wage workers are being subjected to the same problem. Companies throughout our country are no longer offering paychecks or direct deposit. Employees are forced to accept prepaid debit cards, which charge low-wage workers fees for taking out cash, checking balances, or even requesting a paper statement. These workers are already burdened by the struggle of trying to survive on a little more than $7 an hour, and now some are getting hit with fees of up to $60 dollars a month to use their own money. After factoring in those fees, these workers aren't even making minimum wage. Big banks like Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup are taking money from those who can least afford it, and these workers are demanding that employers pay them with an actual check.
In the best of the rest of the news...
According to the International Energy Agency, renewable energy will soon be the second-largest energy source worldwide. They report that in the next five years, renewable sources will be more common than natural gas. The IEA points to lowers costs as a major factor in the switch to renewable sources. As coal and other fossil fuels become more costly, hydro, wind, and solar power are catching on – even in developing countries. In fact, the only nations that are not seeing huge growth in green energy are the developed nations – and that's because of global subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. President Obama's recent climate speech addressed those subsidies, and called for increased investment in renewable sources. The President pledged to double our nation's wind and solar energy production, and allow green energy development on public lands. The International Energy Agency says that by 2018, renewable sources will make up 25 percent of the world's energy. Perhaps we can expedite that process by continuing our push to move away from fossil fuels, and towards green energy.
Texas lawmakers are going to take another pass at restricting abortion in their state. Texas Governor Rick Perry has announced another special session to try and impose a 20-week abortion ban on women in his state. But, pro-choice advocates are working to make last week's protests and 11-hour filibuster look like child's play. Already, 5,000 people have signed up to join a “Stand With Texas Women” rally, to expand on last week's fight to protect a woman's right to choose. Thousands say they were inspired by State Senator Wendy Davis for standing for over 11 hours to protect women in her state. Senator Davis was interviewed on ABC's This Week, and said that she refused to give up on this important fight. She said, “I believe in people. I believe in the power of democracy, and I am going to fight with every fiber I have to keep [the anti-abortion measure] from passing.” It looks like she'll now have thousands more Texas residents standing with her, and they are not going to let lawmakers restrict women's rights without a fight.
And finally… New York City held it's annual gay pride parade this Sunday, and one special guest was a highlight at the celebration. Democratic mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner was in attendance, and party-goers had a bit of fun with word-play. Several parade viewers carried signs saying “Weiner!” and carried pictures of the former-represenative's now infamous photo, that led to his resignation in 2011. Despite the previous scandal, New Yorkers welcomed the mayoral candidate with cheers of “We love Weiner and you can quote me on that!” Obviously, their words had more than one meaning at the gay-pride event, but Anthony Weiner didn't miss a beat in joining with their festivities. He shared some back-and-forth jokes with the crowd, and asked “You guys know that's my name right?” Anthony Weiner may not be a favorite among the religious, anti-gay crowd, but it appears he's got strong support from the gay-male demographic.
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