Supreme Court Seems To Be On The Verge Of Ruling In Favor Of Marriage Equality Reuters

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 By Joan Biskupic
WASHINGTON, April 26 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court’s arguments on Tuesday over same-sex marriage will cap more than two decades of litigation and a transformation in public attitudes.Based on the court’s actions during the past two years, a sense of inevitability is in the air: That a majority is on the verge of declaring gay marriage legal nationwide.Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court’s pivotal member on gay rights, has been marching in this direction with opinions dating to 1996. In his most recent gay rights decision for the court in 2013, rejecting a legal definition of marriage limited to a man and woman for purposes of federal benefits, Kennedy deplored that U.S. law for making gay marriages “unequal.”That 5-4 decision did not address a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, but lower court judges interpreted the ruling as an endorsement of it and began invalidating state bans.

When states appealed rulings striking down their same-sex marriage prohibitions, the Supreme Court declined to intervene, most notably in October 2014 when it denied appeals in seven cases on a single day.

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Instead, the nine justices are hearing in Tuesday’s oral arguments an appeal of the sole decision from a regional U.S. appeals court that went the opposite way. Last November, the Cincinnati-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit upheld gay marriage bans in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee.

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With 37 of the 50 states now permitting gay marriage, many because of judicial orders, it seems unlikely the country’s highest court would reverse course. Public opinion polls over the last decade have shown large increases in support for gay marriage. A ruling is due by the end of June.

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Yet some questions remain.

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How much will Kennedy, a member of the court’s five-man conservative bloc who often casts decisive votes in close cases, show his hand in the 2-1/2 hours of oral arguments? Will he reveal a clear view that the Constitution gives gay people a right to marry or will he voice concerns for state interests in controlling marriage laws?

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An element of uncertainty hovers over Chief Justice John Roberts, who broke with the other court conservatives and cast the deciding vote upholding President Barack Obama’s healthcare law in 2012. Roberts voted against gay rights in the 2013 ruling. But he separated himself from the most conservative dissenters and declined to declare outright that states may ban gay marriage.

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He has demonstrated apprehension about the reputation of the court that, by virtue of his service as chief justice, informally bears his name. In his opinions, he has sometimes tried to lower tensions in controversial cases and reassure people that the court is aligning with precedent and public expectations.

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The question is not only how Roberts might vote but what he might write.

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In the 2013 ruling, he denounced the court majority’s sentiment that federal lawmakers were deliberately harming gay people with the limited definition of marriage. “I would not tar the political branches with the brush of bigotry,” he wrote.

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For the other seven justices, expectations are clearer.

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The four liberals, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, have signaled their opposition to state same-sex marriage bans. On the other side have been the three most conservative justices, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, asserting that nothing in the Constitution guarantees same-sex marriage.

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Two legal questions are before the justices: whether the Constitution’s guarantees of due process and equal protection cover a right to same-sex marriage; and, if they do not, whether states that ban same-sex marriages must recognize such unions performed in other states.

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Gay couples and their families, about 30 adults and 20 children, have appealed the 6th Circuit’s decision. The name petitioner is James Obergefell, who wanted his home state of Ohio, which prohibits gay marriage, to recognize his Maryland marriage to John Arthur as Arthur was dying from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Officials expect the courtroom to be packed to its 400-seat capacity. Lines for general spectator seats began forming around 6 a.m. on Friday, more than four days ahead of the scheduled oral arguments at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT) on Tuesday

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Cruz Needs to Dial Back God Talk, Says Pope

by Andy Borowitz

Andy Borowitz's photo.

VATICAN CITY – Presidential candidate Ted Cruz’s frequent references to Jesus in his speeches are “over the top” and he “really needs to dial back the God talk,” said Pope Francis in a just-published interview.

“Okay, he’s religious, I get it,” the pontiff told an Italian newspaper. “But he’s got to talk about something else once in a while.”

Pope Francis recommended Cruz try such topics as “the poor” and “helping people,” adding, “Sometimes he sounds like he’s running for my job.”

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Attention Readers: With the election season warming up we remind you that any comments posted which criticize a candidate on a personal level or without merit or substantiating facts, will be removed.”

When I miss a comment which breaks these guidelines please email me and I will remove it.

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Stop Handguns Before They Stop You

Richard Branson's photo.


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G.O.P. Chairman Warns Against Hatred for Hillary Peaking Too Soon


WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In an urgent memo to the field of G.O.P. Presidential candidates, the Republican National Committee chairman, Reince Priebus, praised them for their relentless personal attacks on Hillary Clinton, but warned that their hatred for the former Secretary of State might be “peaking too early.”

Priebus called the candidates’ ongoing evisceration of Clinton “magnificent,” but expressed his concern that “no human beings, even an impressive group like yourselves, could possibly sustain such a high intensity of throbbing hatred for an entire year and a half.”


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Candidates Listed For Fall Elections


This year’s elections in Amherst are starting to take shape.

Both the Republicans and the Democrats have endorsed their slate of candidates for town offices.

So far the November races look like this:  Deborah Bruch Bucki and Francina J. Spoth are running for Town Board sears against Republicans Tara Cadmus and Susan D. McClary: Kathy R. Kaminski will run against Republican Patrick Lucey Jr. for highway superintendent; and Fanny E. “Effie” Meyer will square off against Republican incumbent, Marjory H. Jaeger for town clerk.

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School Board Elections Coming Up

mark your calendar
Mark your calendar.  The school district’s budget vote and trustee elections will be held from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 19.  For Sweet Home School District the vote will be held at the Vergils Community Center at Sweet Home High School, 1901 Sweet Home Road, Amherst and for the Williamsville Central School District at Williamsville North High School, 1595 Hopkins Road in Williamsville.

There are seven candidates seeking 3 open seats in the Williamsville Central District.  Three incumbents: Toni Vazquez, Jay Smith and Michael Littman, are running for re-election.  The other four candidates are: Shawn Lemay, Sam Alba, Robert Campo and Mark Mecca.

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Comcast Calls Off Time Warner Cable Merger


Comcast has scrapped plans to merge with Time Warner Cable in a $45.2 billion deal that would have combined the country’s two largest cable and broadband providers, the companies said Friday.

The move comes two days after the Federal Communications Commission said it planned to oppose the deal, joining lawyers from the Justice Department who felt it would not help consumers. The FCC said it would issue a “hearing designation order” that would prolong the deal, making it more difficult and expensive for Comcast. On Friday, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said the merger posed “unacceptable risk to competition and innovation.”
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5-Year-Old Told to Cover Up for Exposing Her Shoulders

5-Year-Old Told to Cover Up for Exposing Her Shoulders
Jef Rouner’s 5-year-old daughter was forced to cover this dress, and put jeans on underneath, because it was in violation of the school’s dress code, he says.

I’m left wondering how bad things must be when a 5-year-old is accused of “breaking the rules” when she wears a sweet summer dress to school.  Someone’s mind is a bit out of whack.

A 5-year-old girl was forced to cover up her dress this week after she was told that her spaghetti straps were not in compliance with the school dress code, according to her father.

Jef Rouner, a writer for the Houston Press and author of Sleepers, Wake!, wrote a column on Wednesday describing how his daughter, who went to kindergarten on Monday wearing a dress with spaghetti straps, was made to cover her shoulders with a jacket and put a pair of jeans underneath her skirt. “It’s a very pretty dress, she’s worn it to school before,” Rouner tells Yahoo Parenting. “When she came out [of school covered up], I thought she had just been cold, but she said ‘no, spaghetti straps aren’t allowed.’ I thought, that’s shaming, and that’s wrong. It’s saying, ‘how you look is not appropriate,’ and she’s worn that dress to church.”
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The ADClub Meeting Was A Successful, Informative, Fun Night


The Amherst Democratic Club, not to be confused with the Amherst Democratic Committee, held their first gathering of 2015 this week.

Dan Ward started this social, democratic club 2 years ago for any Democrats who wanted to get together to talk about what is important in Amherst and the world.  The club has doubled the number of people in attendance since it started 2 years ago.

The conversations ran from problems in Amherst and how to solve them, the candidates running for public positions in Amherst, the safety of Amherst and what is happening to our private rights without public knowledge.

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