News: Republican court rules DOMA unconstitutional, May 31, 2012

A U.S. Appeals Court struck down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the law which bans federal recognition of same-sex marriage. Enacted in 1996, DOMA defines marriage for federal purposes as unions exclusively between a man and a woman.

The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Boston, ruled that a law denying employment benefits to the same-sex spouse of a federal employee is unconstitutional.

“Congress’ denial of federal benefits to same-sex couples lawfully married in Massachusetts has not been adequately supported by any permissible federal interest,” stated a portion of the 3-judge panel’s ruling.

At issue is whether the federal government can deny tax, health and pension benefits to same-sex couples in states where they can legally marry. The ruling is a boost for gay rights advocates and the Obama administration, which has refused to defend a federal law in court

The court delayed implementation if its ruling until the matter could be decided by the Supreme Court.

California leads the way in banning ex-gay therapy
It’s been over 30 years since the American Psychological Association stopped classifying homosexuality as a disorder. Now, the California Senate has approved a bill, which would make the state the first to acknowledge that reality.

If approved by the Assembly and signed by the Governor, Senate bill 1172 would make California the first state in the nation to ban licensed mental health professionals from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts of any kind for a minor patient, regardless of a parent’s willingness or desire to authorize participation in such programs.

“Being lesbian or gay or bisexual is not a disease or mental disorder for the same reason that being a heterosexual is not a disease or a mental disorder,” bill sponsor Ted Lieu said. “The medical community is unanimous in stating that homosexuality is not a medical condition.”

Opponents such as The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) opposed the bill because they stated that “such therapy could help those who ‘struggle with unwanted homosexuality.’”

It is rumored that NARTH members also continue to place faith in the curative powers of the lobotomy, presumably having had first-hand experience with the procedure.

Lucky in love and the lottery
Ian Pearce and Lyn Sexton hit the lottery twice. Their first “win” was meeting each other 16 years ago; the second was hitting the lottery for £1 million (about $1.5M USD). The grateful couple received their check last week at the same castle where they entered into a civil ceremony six years ago and are believed to be the first in such a union, the equivalent of a civil union in the United States, to have won the lottery in the United Kingdom.

“This isn’t the first time we’ve shocked our families, but they’re fantastic and very happy for us. We love life and this will make it all the better,” Sexton said.

The couple announced no plans for the windfall other than to treat their families to trips to Egypt and Jamaica.

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