Alabama's highest court ordered probate judges in the state to cease issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, defying a federal court decision.
In a 7 to 1 ruling made Tuesday, Alabama's supreme court concluded that the a recent ruling by a federal judge and the refusal of the Supreme Court to grant a stay in said ruling were not to be honored.
The director and writer of "Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief" have issued a call to Tom Cruise and John Travolta to speak out about their experience within the organization, including allegations of abuse within.
"I was struck by the film's focus on Travolta and Cruise," Times Talk moderator Logan Hill said on Tuesday. "It seemed designed to and really put specific pressure on Travolta and Cruise to either reform or apostatize."
"The fact is they are the front of the church," director Alex Gibney responded. "They are the reason a lot of people join, particularly Tom Cruise now. They have a recruiting power that's enormous. To put in the film the fact that they are abusing the power they have by not talking out about the church or not even exploring the abuses I thought was absolutely necessary. Otherwise, you have a lot of innocent people that are tumbling into the church on that account." more >>
The North Carolina Ethics Commission has ruled that sexual favors or sexual acts between lobbyists and state government officials don't need to be reported as a gift or "thing of value" in disclosure forms under the state's lobbying laws.
Under North Carolina law, lobbyists are required to report any gift or "thing of value" given to a state government official that exceeds the value of $10. Although sex is something that is often purchased illegally through prostitution throughout the world, the ethics commission ruled in mid-February that sex doesn't hold an official value, therefore there's no need for lobbyists to disclose sex they might've had with a government official.
"Consensual sexual relationships do not have monetary value and therefore are not 'reportable expenditures made for lobbying' for purposes of the lobbying law's expenditure reporting provisions," the commission's advisory opinion states. more >>
A district court judge in Texas has ruled in favor of a diocese of the Episcopal Church that broke away in 2008 over theological differences regarding who controls the diocesan name and property.
Judge John Chupp of Tarrant County ruled Monday that the Diocese of Fort Worth under Bishop Jack Leo Iker owns the name and property of the diocese instead of the mainline denomination.
Two Supreme Court justices who officiated gay weddings don't need to recuse themselves from an upcoming case where they'll be ruling on the legality of state level gay marriage bans, despite demands from social conservative groups that they "disqualify" themselves, according to legal experts.
In April, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in an appeal from the Sixth Circuit regarding the constitutionality of state constitutional bans on same-sex marriage.
Calls have been made by some conservative groups for Justices Elena Kagan and Ruth Bader Ginsburg to recuse themselves from the case because they've officiated gay weddings. more >>
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md.— Appearing as a guest speaker on a criminal justice reform panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday, Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback explained how Kansas' provision of mental healthcare and private mentors for its prisoners have played a significant role in cutting the state's prison system recidivism rate in half.
Brownback, who was elected governor in 2010 after serving as a U.S. senator, told the audience that reducing states' crime rates and corrections spending can be easily accomplished if state prisons provided more to their prisoners than just a place to live and food to eat until they're released back into society.
"I think we have gotten stuck in the old mantra that 'If you do the crime, you do the time,'" Brownback said. "When I first ran [for Congress] in the 1990s, that is one of the mantras that I put up. The problem of it was that at some point in time you find that [the time] is done then you got a guy coming out and we were having 60 percent recidivism rates. That is what we were having in our state — 60 percent recidivism rates." more >>