влада, вибори, народ

US Senate Votes to Protect Same-Sex, Interracial Marriages at Federal Level

U.S. senators voted to protect same-sex and interracial marriages Tuesday, 61-36. 

Twelve Republicans voted for the legislation, which will head to U.S. President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law after final passage in the U.S. House.    

“Our community really needs a win, we have been through a lot,” said Kelley Robinson, the incoming president of Human Rights Campaign, which advocates on LGBTQ issues. “As a queer person who is married, I feel a sense of relief right now. I know my family is safe.” 

The legislation repeals the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act that defines marriage as between a man and a woman under federal law. It would also require states to recognize same-sex and interracial marriages performed in other states, although it does not prevent states from passing laws banning those marriages.    

“This legislation unites Americans,” Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin, one of the act’s co-sponsors and the first openly gay woman elected to the U.S. Senate, said earlier when the bill passed a preliminary vote. 

“With the Respect for Marriage Act, we can ease the fear that millions of same-sex and interracial couples have that their freedoms and their rights could be stripped away by passing this bill,” Baldwin said. “We are guaranteeing same-sex and interracial couples, regardless of where they live, that their marriage is legal, and that they will continue to enjoy the rights and responsibilities that all other marriages are afforded.” 

Same-sex marriage legalized in 2015

The U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage at the federal level in its 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision. But the court’s Dobbs v. Jackson decision in June overturning a right to abortion at the federal level raised concerns about federal protections for other rights.  

In his concurring opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the court should reconsider other decisions based on the right to privacy, such as guarantees for the right to marry or the right to use birth control, arguing the U.S. Constitution does not guarantee those rights. Thomas’ opinion led to widespread concern the court would next move to overturn the right to same-sex marriage. A bipartisan group of senators worked on the Respect for Marriage Act to address this possibility.  

Republican Senator Mike Lee said on the Senate floor during debate that this legislation was unnecessary.    

“A single line from a single concurring opinion does not make the case for legislation that seriously threatens religious liberty. The Respect for Marriage Act is unnecessary. States are not denying recognition of same-sex marriage. And there’s no serious risk of anyone losing recognition,” he said.  

Legislation heads back to House

The legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year with support from 47 Republicans. It now heads back to the House so that members can vote on religious liberty protection amendments added in the Senate.  

Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit organization advancing religious freedom, said in a statement that the Respect for Marriage Act was unconstitutional and does not provide “any protection for religious individuals or organizations, and the subsequent amendments to the bill exclude a large percentage of constitutionally and statutorily protected religious organizations.”    

But Republican Senator Susan Collins, another co-sponsor of the legislation, said on the Senate floor that concerns about religious liberty were a false argument.  

“This legislation would make clear in federal law that nonprofit religious organizations and religious educational institutions cannot be compelled to participate in or support the solicitation or celebration of marriages that are contrary to their religious beliefs,” she said.  

In a May 2022 Gallup poll, 71% of Americans said they support same-sex marriage. Only 27% supported it when the poll was first taken in 1996. 

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By Polityk | 30/11/2022 | Повідомлення, Політика

Right-wing Oath Keepers Founder Convicted of Sedition in US Capitol Attack Plot

Stewart Rhodes, founder of the right-wing Oath Keepers militia group, was convicted by a jury on Tuesday of seditious conspiracy for last year’s attack on the U.S. Capitol in a failed bid to overturn then-President Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss — an important victory for the Justice Department.

Rhodes, a Yale Law School-educated former Army paratrooper and disbarred attorney, was accused by prosecutors during an eight-week trial of fomenting a plot to use force to block Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s election victory over Trump.

Rhodes was the best-known of the five defendants in the most significant of the numerous trials arising from the deadly January 6, 2021, Capitol riot. One co-defendant, Kelly Meggs, was also found guilty of seditious conspiracy on Tuesday, while three others — Kenneth Harrelson, Jessica Watkins and Thomas Caldwell — were acquitted of that charge.

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta has presided over the trial. The jury deliberated for three days.

One of about 900 charged

Rhodes, who wears an eye patch after accidentally shooting himself in the face with his own gun, is one of the most prominent defendants of the roughly 900 charged so far in connection with the attack.

In 2009, Rhodes founded the Oath Keepers, a militia group whose members include current and retired U.S. military personnel, law enforcement officers and first responders. Its members have showed up, often heavily armed, at protests and political events around the United States including the racial justice demonstrations following the murder of a Black man named George Floyd by a white Minneapolis police officer.

Prosecutors during the trial said Rhodes and his co-defendants planned to use force to prevent Congress from formally certifying Biden’s election victory. Meggs, Watkins and Harrelson all entered the Capitol clad in tactical gear.

The defendants were accused of creating a “quick reaction force” that prosecutors said positioned at a nearby Virginia hotel and was equipped with firearms that could be quickly transported into Washington if summoned.

50 witnesses

Fifty witnesses testified during the trial. Rhodes and two of his co-defendants testified in their own defense. They denied plotting any attack or seeking to block Congress from certifying the election results, though Watkins admitted to impeding police officers protecting the Capitol.

Rhodes told the jury he had no plan to storm the Capitol and did not learn that some of his fellow Oath Keepers had breached the building until after the riot had ended.

Prosecutors during cross-examination sought to paint Rhodes as a liar, showing him page after page of his inflammatory text messages, videos, photos and audio recordings. These included Rhodes lamenting about not bringing rifles to Washington on January 6 and saying he could have hanged U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat reviled by the right, from a lamppost.

Watkins, a transgender woman who fled the U.S. Army after being confronted with homophobic slurs, and Caldwell, a disabled U.S. Navy veteran, also chose to testify.

Watkins admitted to having “criminal liability” for impeding police officers inside the Capitol and apologized. At the same time, Watkins denied having any plan to storm the building, describing being “swept up” just as enthusiastic shoppers behave on “Black Friday” when they rush into stores to purchase discount-price holiday gifts like TVs.

Caldwell, who like Rhodes did not enter the Capitol building and never formally joined the Oath Keepers, tried to downplay some of the inflammatory texts he sent in connection with the attack. Caldwell said some of the lines were adapted from or inspired by movies such as “The Princess Bride” and cartoons such as Bugs Bunny.

Four other Oath Keepers members charged with seditious conspiracy are due to go to trial in December. Members of another right-wing group called the Proud Boys, including its former chairman Enrique Tarrio, also are due to head to trial on seditious conspiracy charges in December.

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By Polityk | 30/11/2022 | Повідомлення, Політика

Georgia Runoff: Early Voting for Warnock-Walker Round 2

In-person early voting for the last U.S. Senate seat is underway statewide in Georgia’s runoff, with Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock working to get the jump on Republican challenger Herschel Walker who is putting less emphasis on advance balloting. 

After winning a state lawsuit to allow Saturday voting after Thanksgiving, Warnock spent the weekend urging his supporters not to wait until December 6 to vote. Trying to leverage his role as pastor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s church and Georgia’s first Black U.S. senator, Warnock concentrated his efforts Sunday among Black communities in metro Atlanta. 

“What we are doing right now is soul work,” Warnock said at Liberty International Church southwest of downtown, where he rallied supporters before leading a march to a nearby early voting site where he cast his ballot. “We are engaged in a political exercise,” Warnock continued, “but this is moral and spiritual work, and for us that has always been based on the foundation of the church.” 

Walker, in contrast, did not hold public events over the long Thanksgiving weekend, and he has not emphasized early voting in his runoff campaign appearances, even as the Republican Party and its aligned PACs attempt to drive voter turnout after Walker underperformed other Georgia Republicans in the general election. Walker finished the first round with about 200,000 fewer votes than Governor Brian Kemp, who easily won a second term. Walker resumes his campaign Monday with stops in small-town Toccoa and suburban Cumming. 

Early in-person voting continues through Friday. Runoff Election Day is December 6. 

Warnock led Walker by about 37,000 votes out of about 4 million cast in the general election but fell short of the majority required under Georgia law, triggering a four-week runoff blitz. Warnock first won the seat as part of concurrent Senate runoffs on January 5, 2021, when he and Senator Jon Ossoff prevailed over Republican incumbents to give Democrats narrow control of the Senate for the start of President Joe Biden’s tenure. Warnock won a special election and now is seeking a full six-year term. 

This time, Senate control is not in play, with Democrats already having secured 50 seats to go with Vice President Kamala Harris’ tiebreaking vote. That puts pressure on both Warnock and Walker to convince Georgia voters that it’s worth their time to cast a second ballot, even if the national stakes aren’t as high. 

As of late Sunday, almost 200,000 ballots had been cast in the relative handful of counties that opted to have weekend voting. That total was built on long lines in several heavily Democratic counties of metro Atlanta, enough to give Democrats confidence that their core supporters remain excited to vote for Warnock. But the total remains a small fraction of the nearly 2.3 million early in-person voters ahead of the November 8 general election. 

And Democrats remain cautious given that the early voting window is much shorter than two years ago, when the second round spanned two months between the general election and runoff. Voting on Saturday was allowed only because Warnock and Democrats sued amid a dispute with the Republican secretary of state over whether Saturday voting could occur on a holiday weekend. 

The senator followed up with a parade of Black leaders for weekend rallies and a march reminiscent of voting rights demonstrations during the civil rights movement. 

“We have one vote here that can change the world,” Andrew Young, a former Atlanta mayor and onetime aide to King, implored Black voters on Sunday. Rising from his wheelchair to speak, the 90-year-old former congressman and U.N. ambassador reminded the assembly of the congressional compromise that ended post-Civil War Reconstruction and paved the way for Jim Crow segregation across the South. 

“One vote at the end of the Civil War pulled all of the Union troops out of the South and lost us the rights we had fought for in the war and that people had fought for us,” he said, starting “a struggle that we have been in ever since.” 

Warnock was shifting to a suburban focus late Monday with an evening concert headlined by the Dave Matthews Band. 

Walker, for his part, has drawn enthusiastic crowds in the early weeks of the runoff, as well, and his campaign aides remain confident that he has no problem among core Republicans. His challenge comes with the middle of the Georgia electorate, a gap highlighted by his shortfall compared with Kemp. 

“I feel Herschel Walker benefited by having Brian Kemp in the original election on November 8, and I think Kemp not being there will hurt the Republicans a little bit,” said Alpharetta resident Marcelo Salvatierra, who voted for Republican Kemp and Democrat Warnock and still supports the senator in the runoff. 


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By Polityk | 29/11/2022 | Повідомлення, Політика

Чоловік у футболці з написом Save Ukraine вибіг на футбольне поле під час матчу ЧС-2022

Чоловік у футболці з написом Save Ukraine («Збережіть Україну») вибіг на футбольне поле під час матчу Португалія-Уругвай на чемпіонаті світу-2022.

Інцидент стався на 51-й хвилині матчу. Чоловік вибіг у футболці з відомим символом «супермена», тримаючи в руках прапор на підтримку ЛГБТ. Футболка, крім напису на грудях, присвяченому Україні, на спині мала напис Respect for Iranian Women («Повага до жінок Ірану»).

Чоловік був на полі кілька секунд, а потім його вивела охорона. Гра продовжилась, у підсумку Португалія перемогла Уругвай з рахунком 2:0.

Особу чоловіка встановлено – це колишній футболіст, а нині активіст з Італії Маріо Феррі. Він після початку повномасштабного вторгнення РФ приїжджав до України з метою волонтерства. У чоловіка є татуювання на руці у вигляді українського Тризуба.

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By Gromada | 29/11/2022 | Повідомлення, Суспільство