Jailed Episcopal Bishop of Maryland, Heather Cook, confessed in court Monday that she has an alcohol problem, and one of her lawyers has revealed that she's "suffering a great deal right now" after being charged with the drunk driving death of married father of two, Thomas Palermo.
"She does admit to an alcohol problem," Cook's defense lawyer, Jose A. Molina, revealed at Cook's bail hearing Monday, according to the Baltimore Brew.
The confession comes just weeks after church officials claimed that their investigation into Cook's background, which revealed a 2010 DUI conviction in which Cook was so drunk she couldn't complete a sobriety test, was just "one mistake." Church officials also said Cook didn't have a problem with the bottle prior to her elevation to the second-highest ranking position in the Diocese of Maryland last spring. more >>
A florist in Washington State who refused to provide floral arrangements to a gay couple for their same-sex wedding ceremony, due to her religious objection to such a union, can now legally be sued personally by the state's attorney general's office, a judge in the state has determined.
Benton County Superior Court Judge Alex Ekstrom ruled last week that the state may bring a consumer protection lawsuit against Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene's Flowers in Richland, as she is being accused of violating the Consumer Protection Act when she declined to provide floral arrangements to a regular customer's same-sex wedding because it went against her Christian beliefs.
The judge's decision means that Stutzman remains at risk of suffering a serious personal financial hit and potential loss of her business. Ekstrom has set the trial date for March 23. more >>
A judge in South Dakota ruled the state constitution's definition of marriage is unconstitutional because it does not allow same-sex couples to marry.
In a decision rendered Monday, district court judge Karen E. Schreier ruled the South Dakota's Amendment C unconstitutional, but put a stay on her decision pending appeal.
Schreier drew a parallel to the Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia, which declared interracial marriage bans unlawful. more >>
During the Jim Crow era, W.E.B Dubois critiqued the American system when he said, "A system cannot fail those it was never built to protect." One would think that Dubois' polemic would be anachronistic to today's America. Lately however, when viewing recent uses of prosecutorial discretion in the criminal justice system, more and more people of color are pondering whether Dubois' point jarringly lingers in today's legal system.
We obviously need our criminal justice system. If it disappeared today, we would see more clearly the important work that it does to protect citizens and to enforce important laws that help to maintain the level of civility that we have in our society. Yet, it also goes without saying that a good thing is not necessarily a perfect thing.
Given our progress over the past forty years, some Americans are comfortable with the status quo, while agreeing there remains continued systemic work to be done before arriving at our nation's promise of equality. Yet, seemingly disproportionate applications of the law leave many people, especially ethnic minorities (both conservatives and liberals), with their eye-brows raised. Some of them are quite angry but not sure of how to express their concerns. So they talk about it amongst themselves, in bars, barbershops, beauty salons, family gatherings, church gatherings, and parties. more >>
A bill has been introduced in the Texas Legislature that if enacted would strip the salary of any Texas-government employee who issues a marriage license to a same-sex couple.
Known as House Bill 623, the recently introduced bill declares that no state funds will go to the distribution of gay marriage licenses.
A North Carolina town has finally thrown in the towel on a years-long court battle by agreeing to remove a veterans' memorial statue from its central park that featured a praying soldier kneeling before a cross and a Christian flag.
After spending approximately $50,000 in legal fees to help preserve the memorial at King Central Park, and willing to spend no more, the King City Council voted 3-2 on Tuesday to agree on a settlement with the plaintiff, a former U.S. Army soldier, that would force the city to remove the statue and take down the Christian flag.
The city council vote took place in front of a room of about 60 of the town's residents and many of them shook their heads in disapproval as the board announced the settlement. The Winston-Salem Journal reports that a few residents interjected with notions such as: "What else are you going to give up next?" more >>