by Hannah McCartney
Lawyer calls 1996 law "across-the-board disrespect"
The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston ruled today that the 16-year Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional for banning federal benefits for married same-sex couples. The Court's three judges ruled unanimously that DOMA is discriminatory because it denies equal rights to same-sex married couples. The ruling applies only to the regions included in the circuit: Massachusetts,
Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire and Puerto Rico. Despite the unanimous decision, no changes will take effect until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the case, which is expected to be appealed. The ruling still marks a significant victory for the gay rights community, as it signifies a unified federal effort to institute provisions that support marriage equality across genders and sexualities. The decision also comes just days after the Ohio Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit filed by The Ohio Campaign to Protect Marriage, which challenged Attorney General Mike DeWine's approval of the legality of the language in a proposed state ballot which, if passed, would legalize same-sex marriage in the state of Ohio. DOMA, passed in 1996, doesn't specifically invalidate same-sex marriages in states that rule to legalize them, but it trivializes the meaning of marriage for such couples by specifically prohibiting married gay couples from possessing same benefits as married homosexual couples, including the ability to:
File taxes jointly
Take unpaid leave to care for a sick or injured spouse
Receive spousal, mother’s and father’s, or surviving spouse benefits under Social Security
Receive equal family health and pension benefits as federal civilian employeesThe Court did not rule on the second provision of DOMA, which verbalizes that states that don't approve of same-sex marriage can't be forced to recognize gay unions performed in states where it's
legal, nor did the court decide whether or the act of gay marriage is actually constitutional.Since its passage, several states have taken their own stances on gay marriage, while eight states — beginning with Massachusetts in 2004 — have legalized same-sex marriage. In Feb. 2011, the Obama administration announced it would no longer defend DOMA's constitutionality after several large-scale challenges to the act — a decision quickly combated by Ohio House Speaker John Boehner with the formation of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, an assemblage of standing House representatives, to defend DOMA. In arguments before the Circuit Court in April, Mary Bonauto, a lawyer for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), called DOMA a result of Congress' "moral disapproval." "It is simply that, frankly, Congress just didn't want to deal with same-sex couples ... this is across-the-board disrespect," she stated in the hearings.Earlier this month, President Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to openly approve same-sex marriage. Ohio belongs in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which also encompasses Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.
by Kevin Osborne
No matter what you think about her, you’ve at least got to admire her spunk.Perennial candidate Sandra “Queen” Noble has suffered another defeat at the polls. Noble ran in the Libertarian Party’s primary Tuesday to be the nominee for Ohio’s 1st Congressional District seat.Noble received just 20 votes (12.74 percent of ballots cast) and lost to Jim Berns, who got 137 votes (87.26 percent).Berns will face off against U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Westwood), the Republican incumbent, in the November election. Others in the race are Democratic candidate Jeff Sinnard and Green Party candidate Rich Stevenson.For comparison, Chabot got 57,005 votes in Tuesday’s primary, while Sinnard got 4,509 and Stevenson got 91.Regular CityBeat readers are familiar with Noble, who ran as an independent last year for Cincinnati City Council. She received 2,726 votes, and finished in 21st place.During that election, Noble responded to CityBeat’s questionnaire to candidates, but her answers didn’t always connect to the queries posed. For example, when she was asked about a garbage fee proposed by City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr., Noble replied, “He's a morpher, over-charging folks for the grand larceny committed by public and staff officials dipping in the till. In '05, I ran for mayor. I offered a guaranteed cure for male-pattern baldness. I'd still do Mr. Dohoney, damn!”Also, she became known for her unusual public appearances and actions on the campaign trail, such as dressing in a makeshift cat tail and cat ears, and drawing whiskers on her face. In a candidate biography, she described herself as a “fashion designer in Walnut Hills who designs tails, which she wears.”At one memorable candidate forum, Noble left the room by walking across the table tops where people were seated in the audience. She also has a personal injury lawsuit against the “Stolen United States of America,” in which she’s seeking “$994 trillion” in damages.Noble, 56, previously ran unsuccessfully for Cincinnati mayor in 2005, receiving 121 votes; and for Congress in Washington, D.C., in 2010, receiving 785 votes.Additionally, she was a candidate for U.S. president in 2004 and 2008, ran for mayor in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, and ran for Los Angeles City Council, according to Project Vote Smart.
Local municipal court judge vies for Democratic nomination in Ohio Supreme Court race
1 Comment · Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge Fanon Rucker could be history in the making. Rucker is seeking a seat on the Ohio
State Supreme Court. If he wins the Democratic primary and the general
election, he then joins his father in being the first father and son to
sit on a Supreme Court bench at the same time in U.S. history.
by Kevin Osborne
GOP congressman blocks woman from testifying about birth control rule
Two Democratic congresswomen walked out of a hearing today in the House after a Republican colleague blocked a woman from testifying about a new federal rule that will require most employers to provide free birth control.U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) left the hearing after House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) prevented the woman from being added to the witness list.Announced last month, the rule reclassifies birth control as a preventative health measure, which means most employers must cover contraception in their insurance plans with no cost sharing like co-pays or deductibles. Initially, an exemption was granted for churches but not for religiously affiliated schools and hospitals, which angered some Catholic bishops and others.In a compromise unveiled Feb. 10, President Obama said religiously affiliated schools and hospitals wouldn’t be forced to offer coverage for free contraceptives. Rather, insurers will be required to offer the coverage free to any women who work at such institutions.That wasn’t good enough for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and some conservative politicians, who said the coverage shouldn’t be required at all.Issa’s staff informed Democratic members of the committee that the hearing was about religious liberty in general, and not the contraception mandate, in explaining why Sandra Fluke couldn’t testify.“As the hearing is not about reproductive rights and contraception but instead about the (Obama) administration’s actions as they relate to freedom of religion and conscience, he believes that Ms. Fluke is not an appropriate witness,” Issa’s staffers wrote in a letter.Fluke wanted to tell about an incident involving a 32-year-old friend who was diagnosed with ovarian cysts and prescribed birth control pills as the only remedy for her condition. Because the woman’s insurance didn’t cover contraception, the friend couldn’t afford her medication and eventually lost her ovary.Read what Fluke had planned to tell the panel here.Eleven people were on Issa’s witness list, led by the Rev. William Lori, the Roman Catholic bishop of Bridgeport, Conn. Eight of Issa’s witnesses are Orthodox Christian, Catholic or evangelical, and represent Christian institutions.Originally, Issa only planned on calling nine witnesses — all men. After the public flap, he added two women to the list.
by Kevin Osborne
Greater Cincinnati's index of economic indicators was flat in December, indicating weak job growth in the coming months, The Business Courier
reports. The index held steady at 97.5, the same as in November. That
indicates "poor employment growth through winter and early spring," said
the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, which compiles the
index. (Thank God Congress reached that jobs deal, right?)Cincinnati City Council will appeal a judge's ruling
that allows demolition of the historic James N. Gamble House in
Westwood. Although the city's attorney said the likelihood of the
appeal's success was low, council voted 6-3 to pursue one. Councilman
Chris Seelbach introduced the proposal; he said the structure is a
landmark that should be preserved.She just wants a little r-e-s-p-e-c-t when she gets home. Kierra Reed, 22, is facing a charge of aggravated menacing after she allegedly attacked her boyfriend for not buying her a Valentine's Day gift.
Reed began hitting and scratching Henry Brown, police said, and when he
locked himself in a bedroom, Reed allegedly got a knife from the
kitchen and tried to cut through the door to stab Brown.U.S. officials have received a copy of the formal charges lodged by the Egyptian government against pro-democracy activists in the Arab nation. Forty-three people, 19 of them Americans, are to be put on trial for allegedly setting up groups without licenses and receiving illegal funding. Critics say the charges are bogus, and being pushed by pro-Islamist groups to prevent dissenting voices from gaining a foothold in the new Egyptian government.Although it's only about one-third the size of the bill President Obama proposed in September, Congressional lawmakers agreed early this morning to a compromise version that results in a $150 billion jobs plan. The deal includes a 10-month extension of a payroll tax holiday that lets the average worker keep an extra $1,000 a year. Also, it would extend unemployment benefits through the rest of this year.In a major turnabout, General Motors reported $7.6 billion in profit for 2011, a 62 percent increase from the previous year. Still, all isn't rosy for the automaker. It reported a $700 million loss in its European operations, and a $100 million loss in South America. The firm, which faced bankruptcy two years ago, saw sales rise 7.6 percent last year to more than 9 million vehicles.The secret is out. Confirming what's been rumored for weeks, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said the U.S. government is conducting secret three-way negotiations with the Taliban and his government. Karzai said he believes most Taliban are "definitively" interested in a peace settlement to end the 10-year-old war.Despite the Obama administration's pledge to put an end to “too big to fail” banks, critics allege more are being created. The Federal Reserve Board has just approved a merger that makes Capital One the fifth-largest bank in the nation, over the objections of smaller banks and consumer advocacy groups.
by Kevin Osborne
He might not be the incumbent, but Brad Wenstrup said details contained in the latest campaign finance reports show he has more grassroots support among the GOP faithful than U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Miami Township).Wenstrup is challenging Schmidt in the March 6 Republican primary for the right to be the party’s candidate for the Ohio 2nd Congressional District seat in November.
by Kevin Osborne
Despite its founder’s insistence Thursday that reaction had been mostly favorable, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure charity abruptly reversed course today and is restoring funding for Planned Parenthood.The Los Angeles Times reports Nancy G. Brinker, Komen's founder and CEO, said that the breast cancer foundation's decision to halt funding to providers who were under investigation was not done for political reasons and was not meant to penalize Planned Parenthood specifically.
by Danny Cross
Not that anyone really gives a [expletive] what Hank Williams, Jr., thinks about politics, but the country singer has gotten himself canned from Monday Night Football for saying insensitive things about subjects he doesn't know that much about. Williams yesterday told Fox & Friends that John Boehner's golf game with President Obama was "one of the biggest political mistakes ever," comparing it to “Hitler playing golf with (Israeli leader) Benjamin Netanyahu,” and then explaining that Obama and Joe Biden are “the enemy.”
1 Comment · Wednesday, October 29, 2008
At CityBeat, we’re fired up and ready to go. We’ve worked for months to explain the candidates and issues on Tuesday’s ballot, and this is our third (and final) week of endorsements. Are you ready? Let's go!