Win! Win!


Washington (CNN)In a landmark opinion, the Supreme Court ruled Friday that states cannot ban same-sex marriage, establishing a new civil right and handing gay rights advocates a victory that until very recently would have seemed unthinkable.

The 5-4 ruling had Justice Anthony Kennedy writing for the majority with the four liberal justices. Each of the four conservative justices wrote their own dissent.

The far-reaching decision settles one of the major civil rights fights of this era — one that has rapidly evolved in the minds of the American pubic and its leaders, including President Barack Obama. He struggled publicly with the issue and ultimately embraced same-sex marriage in the months before his 2012 re-election.

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family,” Kennedy wrote. “In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than they once were.”

In a dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia blasted the Court’s “threat to American democracy.”

“The substance of today’s decree is not of immense personal importance to me,” he wrote. “But what really astounds is the hubris reflected in today’s judicial Putsch.”

The relevant cases were argued earlier this year. Attorney John Bursch, serving as Michigan’s Special Assistant Attorney General, defended four states’ bans on gay marriage before the Court, arguing that the case was not about how to define marriage, but rather about who gets to decide the question.

The case came before the Supreme Court after several lower courts overturned state bans on gay marriage. A federal appeals court had previously ruled in favor of the state bans, with Judge Jeffrey Sutton of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals writing a majority opinion in line with the rationale that the issue should be decided through the political process, not the courts.

Fourteen couples and two widowers challenged the bans. Attorneys Mary Bonauto and Doug Hallward-Driemeier presented their case before the Court, arguing that the freedom to marry is a fundamental right for all people and should not be left to popular vote.

Three years after President Barack Obama first voiced his support for gay couples’ right to marry, his administration supported the same sex couples at the Supreme Court.

4 things we learned about John Roberts

“Gay and lesbian people are equal,” Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. told the justices at the oral arguments earlier this year. “It is simply untenable — untenable — to suggest that they can be denied the right of equal participation in an institution of marriage, or that they can be required to wait until the majority decides that it is ready to treat gay and lesbian people as equals.

The same-sex couples who challenged gay marriage bans in Michigan, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio were just a few of the estimated 650,000 same-sex couples in the United States, 125,000 of whom are raising children.

The challenges included same-sex couples who wanted to marry, those who sought to have their lawful out-of-state marriage recognized, as well as those who wanted to amend a birth or death certificate with their marriage status.

By the numbers: Same-sex marriage

The lead plaintiff in the case is Jim Obergefell who married his spouse John Arthur in 2013 months before Arthur died.

The couple, who lived in Ohio, had to travel to Maryland aboard a medical jet to get married when Arthur became gravely ill. And when Arthur died, Obergefell began to fight to be recognized as Arthur’s spouse on his death certificate.

Map: Where same-sex marriage is recognized in the U.S.

The plaintiffs from Michigan are April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, two Detroit-area nurses who are also foster parents. They took to the courts after they took in four special-needs newborns who were either abandoned or surrendered at birth, but could not jointly adopt the children because Michigan’s adoption code requires that couples be married to adopt.

Milestones for LGBT rights

Sgt. Ijpe Dekoe and Thomas Kostura became plaintiffs in the gay marriage case after they moved to Tennessee from New York.

The pair had married in New York in 2011, but Dekoe’s position in the Army took the couple to Tennessee, which banned gay marriage and refused to recognize gay marriages performed in other states.

–SCOTUS has finally stepped in where others were afraid to tread and FUCK Antonin Scalia and his dissent! Finally a sweeping tribute to freedom and a definite slap in the face to conservative cousin-fucking Duggerites!

Ending Human Trafficking


Editor’s note: Cindy McCain is co-chair of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s Task Force on Human Trafficking and chairman of Hensley & Co. Watch her in a special town hall meeting at the Clinton Global Initiative hosted by CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta at 4.30 p.m. ET Saturday. The views expressed are the author’s own.
(CNN) — The issue of human trafficking has exploded into the headlines in recent years. State and federal legislation has been passed helping to define trafficking more specifically and prosecute traffickers, while services enabling victims to lead productive lives, safely beyond the reach of their traffickers, have been proliferating.
Meanwhile, anti-trafficking organizations are using technology in exciting new ways to find and rescue victims and provide network linkages to prosecute their traffickers successfully.
Yet while such progress is welcome, many groups are only just beginning to focus on a crucial element of beating human trafficking — cutting demand. After all, less demand means fewer trafficked victims.
Sadly, human trafficking is a multibillion dollar global industry, with some estimates suggesting more than 21 million people are enslaved worldwide. Here in the United States, between 100,000 to 300,000 American children are at risk of being trafficked each year, according to the Department of Homeland Security, with the average age of a child first being trafficked just 13.
Of course, while a trafficker can sell drugs or a gun once, sex with a child can be sold over and over again. It is hardly surprising then that there is also increasing evidence that many of the trafficking networks are interconnected with gang activity and drug and gun trafficking.
FBI: Our children are not for sale U.N. tackles issue of human trafficking
A child cannot choose to sell sex for money. A minor being sold for sex is by definition being trafficked. There is no such thing as a child prostitute, only a sex-trafficked victim. Thankfully, there is a much needed mindset shift taking place among law enforcement and treatment providers, a change being increasingly embraced by those trained to recognize trafficked victims, but which needs to be accepted by the global community for continued change.
In addition, more training is needed to identify human trafficking victims. Law enforcement, first responders, emergency room personnel, pediatricians, school personnel, foster care administrators, child welfare personnel, court-appointed advocates, hotel, airport and taxi staff — many of whom come into contact with trafficked children without knowing it — could all benefit from extra training. Increased awareness and proper protocols can help to identify correctly and get appropriate help to trafficked victims faster.
Many of these victims find themselves in the social service system, where opportunities exist to get them the help they need if they can be correctly identified. Too often, survivors recount how they crossed paths with adults who could have helped them escape but who didn’t see the situation clearly enough to offer them assistance.

In the United States, Operation Cross Country, a joint sting operation between the FBI, U.S. Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, has recovered more than 3,500 minors since 2003. The Innocence Lost program recovered 168 victims this summer and arrested 281 pimps.
Overseas, however, we have watched helplessly as Boko Haram has kidnapped hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls with the stated intent to sell them for sex. Four months later, and the international community has been unable to rescue them. The individual stories I’ve personally heard from trafficking survivors are heart-wrenching, yet it still happens every day in our country and around the world. Sometimes, one victim at a time, sometimes in large groups.
Survivors’ stories tell us that some victims are sold into trafficking by family members, some lured by attention and promises of glamour by an “older boyfriend,” only to be abused, branded and sold for sex; labor trafficking victims are often promised high-paying jobs far away from home, only to have their documents taken, their lives and families threatened and horrid working conditions waiting for them with no opportunity for escape. Runaways are often picked up by traffickers within 48 hours of running away from home, and no one is looking to find them. The common thread is that traffickers prey on society’s most vulnerable.
So what can we do?
More than anything, it’s up to us to do everything we can to protect our vulnerable citizens and continue this fight to make our communities and ultimately our world safer. It’s up to us to be a voice for the voiceless. While we may not yet have a clear strategy for tackling Boko Haram, we can still be aware of the signs of trafficking and speak up in our communities when we see something that just doesn’t look right. A shift in mindset about the definition of a trafficked victim, stronger legislation allowing better identification and services for victims and more vigorous prosecutions of traffickers offer a healthy start.
But we have a long way to go — there is more to do on all these fronts.

-I keep beating this drum because children cannot do it themselves. As long as my own children return safe to their beds every night, I will not quit posting, attending functions, giving and volunteering to see the repugnant practice of human slavery cease! I give my time to causes such as these because it is adults who seem to be able to reach into the depths of themselves to create evil bullshit such as this. Climb on board people and help end what is NOT being done to youe own children!