Oregon became the third state in the United States to ban gay conversion therapy, a practice that has attracted much debate. Democratic Gov. Kate Brown signed the bill into law earlier this week, though an ex-gay group has protested and called the bill "child abuse."
CNN reported on Wednesday that the bill signed by Brown, the first openly bisexual governor in the U.S., will block therapist from offering conversion or reparative therapy on individuals who are younger than 18. Laws against the practice have also been made in California, New Jersey, and Washington D.C. more >>
Support for same-sex marriage in the United States is at a historic high, according to recently released results from a Gallup poll.
Gallup found that 60 percent of respondents believed that marriages between same-sex couples should be legally recognized, with 37 percent opposed.
As the debate over Alabama's General Fund budget shortfall continues, four schools of thought have emerged on how to solve this problem: a) tax increases, b) gambling revenue, c) unearmarking, d) and across-the-board cuts. Each one of these proposals has been deemed the obvious, simple solution to the problem, but none would actually be that straightforward. As proposed, three of the four would require the second, overlooked step of prioritizing spending--a difficult task in a currently fragmented Republican majority.
For example, if taxes are raised or gambling is expanded, where is this new revenue going to go? Assuming it goes to the General Fund, which programs or agencies will receive it? Will it be spread across the board equally or dedicated to certain services? Who will decide which functions of state government outrank the others? Except for the DOA idea of a lottery to fund Medicaid, none of these questions has a clear answer.
Unearmarking comes with the same uncertainty. To be clear, unearmarking does not generate any new money. The practice would merely give legislators more flexibility to move money around, but with the same financial obligations as before. In theory, this is a good thing as it would allow legislators to pick and choose, but will legislators suddenly be able to agree which programs should be cut and which should be funded? If the unearmarked money is not prioritized in a systematic way and no cost-saving reforms are adopted along with it, we may not end up any better off. more >>
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal will issue an executive order meant to protect businesses from being legally compelled to service gay marriages due to religious objections.
In response to the defeat of the Marriage and Conscience Act on Tuesday, Gov. Jindal announced his intention to issue an executive order with a similar objective.
"We will be issuing an Executive Order shortly that will accomplish the intent of HB 707 to prevent the state from discriminating against persons or entities with deeply held religious beliefs that marriage is between one man and one woman," stated Jindal on Tuesday afternoon. more >>
A California congressman who authored his state's first in the nation ban on gay conversion therapy for minors has taken is fight to the federal level.
Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu, representative of California's 33rd District, introduced the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act on Tuesday to the U.S. House.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said that President Barack Obama should not expect to receive military authorization to continue the fight against terror group ISIS in Iraq and Syria. While Boehner has argued that Obama has not presented a real strategy on how to effectively fight ISIS, other lawmakers, such as Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., have said that does not justify inaction.
"The president's request for an authorization of the use of military force calls for less authority than he has today. I just think, given the fight that we're in, it's irresponsible. This is why the president, frankly, should withdraw the authorization of use of military force and start over," Boehner told reporters on Tuesday, which CBS News said "may have been the nail in the coffin" in Obama's request.
The U.S. has been conducting air strikes alongside a broad coalition of international allies against the Islamic militants, who have captured significant territory in Iraq and Syria. Nearly a year has passed since the U.S. started carrying out operations in the region, however, and Obama may need military authorization, also known as the AUMF, by Congress in order to continue the fight. more >>