Supreme Court Strikes Down DOMA And Prop 8 In Favor Of Gay Rights

Supreme Court Strikes Down DOMA And Prop 8 In Favor Of Gay RightsIn a big day for gay-rights advocates, the Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down a federal provision denying benefits to legally married gay couples and issued a separate ruling that paves the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California.

‘Same-sex marriages to resume’

Cheers erupted on the steps of the high court, as the rulings were handed down. The latter decision did not speak to the constitutionality of gay marriage bans in California, or in the country as a whole. The court avoided a broad ruling, and rather, determined that the defenders of California’s Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage did not have the standing to appeal lower court rulings against the ban.  As a result, California is likely to allow same-sex marriages to resume in a matter of weeks. Gov. Jerry Brown has already set that process in motion.


‘Unconstitutional’

The more sweeping decision, though, came in relation to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which the court said was unconstitutional and effectively gutted by ruling against a provision that denied benefits to legally married gay couples.

The 5-4 ruling — a major victory for gay-rights advocates — means those same-sex couples would be eligible for federal benefits. President Obama, who applauded the decision, directed his administration to review “all relevant federal statutes” to comply with the ruling.

The provision in question defined marriage as between a man and woman and in doing so prevented married gay couples from receiving a range of tax, health and retirement benefits that are generally available to married people.

Are you in favor of same-sex marriage? Why or why not?

Source: Fox News

Image: Salon

World’s Richest Man Becomes Richer Supplying ‘Obamaphones’ To The Poor

A Mexican telecom mogul who holds the title of world’s richest man, and one of President Obama’s top donors are both getting even richer from the U.S. government program that supplies so-called “Obamaphones” to the poor.

Carlos Slim, who has an estimated net worth of $70 billion, owns a controlling stake in TracFone, which makes $10 per phone for each device it provides to poor Americans. The company, whose president and CEO is Frederick “F.J.” Pollak, also makes money from extra minutes and data plans it sells to subscribers who get phones and service through the government’s Lifeline program. The program, which began in the mid-1980s, has exploded in the past four years after being expanded from supplying landlines to the poor to providing cellular phones.


U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, (R-Ark.), who has been one of the biggest critics of the Lifeline program’s explosive growth, recently introduced a bill on Capitol Hill to end the Lifeline program, which cost $1.6 billion in 2011, up from $772 million in 2008. While not technically a tax, the program is funded by mandatory fees tacked on to consumers’ phone bills, then disbursed through the Federal Communications Commission and states. Griffin said he has seen cases in which single individuals obtained dozens of the phones, and said under the lax requirements, more than 80 million Americans are eligible.

The FCC announced in July that new reforms saved $43 million in savings by eliminating duplicate subscriptions and outdated subsidies and claims that the agency is on track to recover $200 million for the year. But Griffin said it’s time to end a subsidy that gives the poor a luxury item and makes the world’s wealthiest man richer.

Do you agree with Tim Griffin that Carlos Slim should be stopped supplying “Obamaphones” to the poor? Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions about this hot topic!

Source: Fox News

Image: France 24