Of all the stories we posted this year, however, the ones most popular with GBN’s readers have primarily focussed on education, super-intelligent youth, and the debunking of the “deadbeat dad” myth that unfairly haunts so many African-American fathers:
In 2014, GBN will strive to bring you much more of the same (as well as the surprising and unexpected), as we believe there can only be more Good Black News stories to cover. Because when you really look for it, you can find positivity everywhere.
The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a 1996 law denying federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples is unconstitutional, in a sign of how rapidly the national debate over gay rights has shifted. The decision was five to four, with Justice Anthony M. Kennedy writing the majority opinion, which the four liberal-leaning justices joined. (Read the decision.)
“The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity,” Justice Kennedy wrote. “By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts was in the minority, as were Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. The ruling overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, which passed with bipartisan support and President Bill Clinton signed.
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration urged the Supreme Court on Thursday to strike down California’s ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional, staking out a legal theory that would forbid states from banning same-sex marriage if it were adopted by the court.
In an amicus brief in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the administration particularly said those states which allow civil unions but not same-sex marriages — Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon and Rhode Island — were violating the 14th Amendment’s right to equal protection.
“The designation of marriage,” wrote Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr., “confers a special validation of the relationship between two individuals and conveys a message to society that domestic partnerships or civil unions cannot match.”
WASHINGTON (AP) — In a major policy reversal, the Obama administration said Wednesday that it will no longer defend the constitutionality of a federal law banning recognition of same-sex marriage.
Attorney General Eric Holder said President Barack Obama has concluded that the administration cannot defend the federal law that defines marriage as only between a man and a woman. He noted that the congressional debate during passage of the Defense of Marriage Act “contains numerous expressions reflecting moral disapproval of gays and lesbians and their intimate and family relationships – precisely the kind of stereotype-based thinking and animus the (Constitution’s)Equal Protection Clause is designed to guard against.”
The Justice Department had defended the act in court until now.
“Much of the legal landscape has changed in the 15 years since Congress passed” the Defense of Marriage Act, Holder said in a statement. He noted that the Supreme Court has ruled that laws criminalizing homosexual conduct are unconstitutional and that Congress has repealed the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
Holder wrote to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, that Obama has concluded the Defense of Marriage Act fails to meet a rigorous standard under which courts view with suspicion any laws targeting minority groups who have suffered a history of discrimination.
The attorney general said the Justice Department had defended the law in court until now because the government was able to advance reasonable arguments for the law based on a less strict standard.
At a December news conference, in response to a reporters’ question, Obama revealed that his position on gay marriage is “constantly evolving.” He has opposed such marriages and supported instead civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. The president said such civil unions are his baseline — at this point, as he put it.
“This is something that we’re going to continue to debate, and I personally am going to continue to wrestle with going forward,” he said.