Miss USA Oliva Culpo Is Crowned Miss Universe 2012

Miss USA Oliva Culpo Is Crowned Miss Universe 2012A 20-year-old beauty queen from Rhode Island was crowned the new Miss Universe on Wednesday, beating out 88 other women during a televised competition at the Planet Hollywood casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Olivia Culpo took the crown from Leila Lopes of Angola after strutting in a purple and blue bikini and a red velvet gown.

‘End a long losing spell’

In the final stages of the competition, she answered a question about her regrets by saying she wished she hadn’t picked on her siblings. Miss Philippines, Janine Tugonon, came in second, while Miss Venezuela, Irene Sofia Esser Quintero, placed third. Contestants from 89 countries on six continents spent the past two weeks in Sin City, where they posed in hardhats at a hotel groundbreaking, took a painting lesson, and pranked hotel guests by hiding in their rooms.

Culpo, from Rhode Island, was trying to end a long losing spell for the U.S. in the competition. An American had not won the right to be called Miss Universe since Brook Lee won the title in 1997. The contestants voted to give the Miss Congeniality crown to Miss Guatemala.


‘Undisclosed salary’

Andy Cohen of the Bravo network and Giuliana Rancic of E! News returned to host the pageant, which was back in Las Vegas after being held in Sao Paulo last year. The panel of 10 judges included singer Cee Lo Green, “Iron Chef” star Masaharu Morimoto and Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants.

Contestants in the pageant cannot have been married or have children. They must be younger than 27 and older than 18 by Feb. 1 of the competition year. The winner of the crown receives an undisclosed salary, a wardrobe fit for a queen, a limitless supply of beauty products, and a luxury apartment in New York City.

The pageant started as a local revue in Long Beach, Calif., organized by Catalina Swimwear. It is not affiliated with the Miss America pageant and unlike that contest, does not include a talent section.

Are you happy with the result of the Miss Universe 2012 pageant? Which contestant were you rooting for?

Source: Associated Press, Fox News

Image: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Defense Of Marriage Act Ruled Unconstitutional By Federal Appeals Court

Defense Of Marriage Act Ruled Unconstitutional By Federal Appeals CourtA federal appeals court in New York became the nation’s second to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, finding that the Clinton-era law’s denial of federal benefits to married same-sex couples is unconstitutional. The divisive act, which was passed in 1996, bars federal recognition of such marriages and says other states cannot be forced to recognize them.

‘Benefit of spousal deductions’

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined Thursday that the federal law violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause, ruling in favor of widow Edith Windsor, an 83-year-old lesbian who sued the federal government for charging her more than $363,000 in estate taxes after being denied the benefit of spousal deductions.

The court upheld a lower court’s decision in a 2-1 majority ruling and determined that America’s gay population “has suffered a history of discrimination” similar to that faced by women in years past. The case centered on the money Windsor wanted back, but it raised the more looming question of whether the federal government can continue to ignore a state’s recognition of her marriage and financially penalize her as a result.


‘Nonissue’

In February, the Obama administration ordered the Justice Department to stop defending the constitutionality of the law, though a GOP-backed group has since taken up the issue in courts across the country. Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York and the District of Columbia issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Maryland, Washington, Maine and Minnesota are voting on the issue in November referendums. Five states — Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey and Rhode Island — allow civil unions that provide rights similar to marriage.

For her part, Windsor said she wants Thursday’s decision to be “part of the beginning of the end” so that married homosexual couples someday will be viewed the same as heterosexual ones in the government’s eyes. And she wants the entire issue of a person’s sexual orientation to soon become a nonissue when it comes to marriage in American society.

Are you in favor if the Defense of Marriage Act? Feel free to share your thoughts regarding this issue!

Source: CNN

Image: Mother Nature Network