Same-sex victories in Oregon, Pennsylvania and Utah
A federal judge overturned Oregon’s ban on gay marriage on Monday, declaring that the ban unconstitutionally discriminates against same-sex couples and ordered it to be lifted immediately. Oregon’s change in marriage laws marks the thirteenth legal victory for same-sex marriage since the Supreme Court’s ruling last year overturned part of a federal ban. Pennsylvania’s 1996 ban on same-sex marriage was struck down on Tuesday making Pennsylvania the twenty-fifth state to legalize same-sex marriage. A federal court ruled on Monday that Utah must recognize more than 1,000 same-sex marriages that happened before the Supreme Court issued an emergency stay. Following a federal judge’s overturning of Utah’s same-sex marriage ban on Dec. 20, over 1,000 same-sex couples were wed. The state of gay marriage in Utah and Pennsylvania is still amendable if the governments of either state request appeals.
Arkansas same-sex marriage put on hold
Arkansas’ Supreme Court struck down a judges ruling which allowed for gay marriage, putting a stop to the distribution of marriage licenses issued to hundreds of same-sex couples. Over 450 same-sex couples received marriage licenses last week following the judge’s lift on a 2004 same-sex marriage ban. A resolution by Republicans to invalidate the already issued licenses failed before a legislative panel.
Conservative Bharatiya Janata Party wins Indian election
The conservative coalition between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) party and the National Democratic Alliance has come out victorious in India’s general elections. The coalition secured 336 seats out of a total of 543 seats in India’s lower house if Parliament. The leader of the BJP, Narendra Modi is to become India’s next prime minister. Modi faced criticism when he inadequately responded to sectarian riots in Gujarat which resulted in over 1,000 people dead, mostly Muslims. He has been denied entry into the United States since 2005 yet the Obama administration shows signs of cooperation.
FCC ruling puts net neutrality at risk
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is in the process of implementing new “net neutrality” rules that would give certain companies competitive advantages over others while making the Internet more expensive for consumers. The proposed changes would allow Internet Service Providers to charge companies on the web for faster and more reliable access to their websites. The proposed changes are not absolute yet and the FCC is asking the public for their opinions which can be submitted to OpenInternet@FCC.gov.
AT&T to buy DirecTV for $48.5 billion
AT&T agreed on Sunday to buy DirecTV, the top U.S. satellite TV operator, for $48.5 billion. The deal would give AT&T 20 million new U.S. subscribers and give the combined firm more customers to to target with phone, high-speed Internet and pay-TV subscriptions. The deal comes after Comcast’s $45 billion purchase bid for Time Warner Cable. A bid that would make Comcast the nation’s dominant provider of cable TV and high-speed Internet access. The deal must still gain federal approval yet already prompts concerns of a dwindling number of options for consumers and possible higher prices.
The week ahead: drones, Donald Sterling and EU elections
The Obama administration has announced that it plans to reveal secret memos that describe the legality of using drones to kill U.S. citizens overseas. The NBA has begun the process of stripping Donald Sterling of his ownership of the Clippers flowing his racist comments. European Parliamentary elections begin May 22 and last until May 25. These elections will give voters a chance to choose the representatives of their interests for the next five years.