A federal appeals court knocked down California’s Proposition 8 — an amendment to the state constitution that banned gay marriage. In 2008, California voters decided to restrict marriage to just a man and a woman. Now, four years later, the court has found that measure to be in violation of the equal protection rights of lesbian and gay individuals. This is big news for California, but doesn’t mean much for other states. The court was ruling on the constitutionality of Prop 8 specifically, not the restriction of gay marriage in general. And, despite the decision, gay couples still can’t get married in Cali — they’ll have to wait ’til the decision goes before a larger panel of justices. However, the debate is now only a couple steps away from the Supreme Court, which means the gay marriage issue could come before the nine almighty justices by the beginning of next year.
President Obama backed off (somewhat) on a rule that would require religious organizations to provide their employees with health insurance covering birth control. Now, groups can “opt out” of this type of coverage, as long as they offer their employees alternative healthcare options that provide contraception. This comes after weeks and weeks of criticism from religious groups that believe contraception is immoral. Maybe Obama came up with a good compromise…but still, getting birth control will require an extra step for lots of people, including students at religiously affiliated colleges.
The violence in Syria, where tens of thousands of protestors are demonstrating against the government, is getting worse and worse. Over the past year, rebels have been attempting to oust President Bashar al-Assad’s controlling government. Assad has responded with unprecedented and unrelenting violence — since the beginning of the revolution, 6,000 Syrians have died. In fact, it’s gotten so bad that on Monday, President Obama made the decision to close down the U.S. embassy in capitol Damascus, getting all American diplomats out of the chaotic country, fast. This move, which some say came way too late, demonstrates that the U.S. will no longer hold any peaceful relations with the Syrian government. Finally.
Scientists say… don’t drive stoned. A new study reveals that driving within three hours of smoking pot doubles your chance of being an accident. So, don’t do it. Duh.
In an attempt to save their troubled (understatement) economy, Greek Parliament passed a number of spending cuts on Sunday, leading to mass protests in Athens. The city was set ablaze by tens of thousands of protestors after the government passed a $4.3 billion package meant to save Greece from quickly-approaching debt default. What’s everyone’s problem? The financial strain will ultimately fall on the shoulders of the Greek population. About 45 buildings in Athens were burned out, and security forces ran out of tear gas twice. This is, ultimately, a last resort for Greece — the best among a number of unhappy options.
Pic o’ the Week
Martial Trezzini / Keystone via AP
Sometimes Europe seems glamorous and luxurious. But sometimes it seems…not so fun. Record low temperatures — some as low as minus 40 Farenheit — have killed hundreds across Europe. This pic was taken in Switzerland. I wonder how long it would take to defrost that windshield?