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Congress is going to officially protect marriage equality. Here's what the bill does and doesn't do.
The Senate just cleared a critical hurdle for the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill that would act as a fail-safe to protect the LGBTQ community in the event that the Supreme Court does to marriage equality what it did to abortion rights.
On Wednesday, a coalition of all 50 Democrats and 12 Republicans voted to overcome any filibuster for the bill. This isn't the same as the Senate's official vote on the bill, but it shows that the Respect for Marriage Act has strong bipartisan support and won't be held up by a filibuster. If the Senate passes the proposal, it then needs to pass in the House of Representatives before being sent to President Joe Biden for his signature.
When the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade this summer, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a separate opinion urging the court’s conservative supermajority to go further in unwinding past opinions on the 14th Amendment. Thomas specifically mentioned Obergefell v. Hodges, which ruled in 2015 that states refusing to recognize marriages for same-sex couples violated the 14th Amendment’s equal protection and due process clauses.
Should the Supreme Court overturn Obergefell, the patchwork of state bans for marriages of same-sex couples would suddenly come back into force, as was the case with abortion trigger laws this summer.
The Respect for Marriage Act won’t force states to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but it would make clear that the federal government would recognize any married couple’s legal rights, benefits, or protections, even if they lived in a state that outlawed marriage between same-sex partners. The bill would also formally repeal the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, which denied such federal rights and benefits in the first place.
How will winter transform the war in Ukraine?
- Ukraine's electricity grid operator warned about long possible outages this winter after Russia targeted power infrastructure in the country. Grid operator Ukrenergo is trying to preemptively minimize damage by scheduling blackouts and stabilizing power at hospitals and schools, according to the Associated Press.
- Plus, US intelligence believes that Russia's recent withdrawal from Kherson was in part due to concerns that a looming winter would cut soldiers off from supplies in the city, the New York Times reported. Cold weather and snow will make it increasingly difficult to launch attacks in Ukraine.
A new lawsuit names a series of high-profile people for their roles in promoting FTX, including Tom Brady, Gisele Bündchen, Steph Curry, Shaquille O’Neal, Naomi Osaka, and Larry David. The Bahamas-based crypto company had been moving customers’ cash into an investment fund that it owned, and this lawsuit claims that American consumers lost $11 billion when FTX declared bankruptcy.
The history of discrimination in healthcare is a dangerous barrier against mental health support for Black people. As a result, many find themselves struggling in silence. "Breaking down the social stigmas when it comes to therapy isn’t easy, but taking those first steps into exploring what it can do for you can make all the difference," Gabrielle Chenault writes.
Ticketmaster canceled its public sale for Taylor Swift's tour after more than 2 million people bought tickets during the presale. On a completely separate note, Swift fans are making fun of her for posting feet pictures for free.
Nancy Pelosi is stepping down as leader of House Democrats but staying in Congress
After more than 19 years in the role, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she is stepping down as the leader of the House Democrats. She will, however, remain in Congress as a representative of California’s 12th District, which encompasses San Francisco.
Many pundits expected the 82-year-old to retire amid the likely Republican midterms takeover, especially in light of the brutal attack on her husband last month. But following a stronger-than-expected Democratic showing in last week’s election, Pelosi teased a range of options for her next steps, including full political retirement or remaining in Congress in some form.
“For me, the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect,” Pelosi said in a Thursday address, “and I’m grateful that so many are ready and willing to shoulder this awesome responsibility.”
There have been calls in both parties for a new generation of leadership. Currently, the three top House Democrats are all over 80. But Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Majority Whip James Clyburn also announced Thursday that they would not be seeking their roles in the next Congress. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, 52, has been named as a potential favorite to succeed Pelosi as minority leader, but no one has formally announced their candidacy as they awaited Pelosi’s decision.
IMAGE OF THE DAY
Ellen Pompeo says farewell to Grey's Anatomy after almost two decades as Meredith Grey
Ellen Pompeo, the star of TV's longest-running medical drama Grey's Anatomy, announced plans to leave the hit series after almost two decades as Meredith Grey.
"I am eternally grateful and humbled by the love and support you have all shown me, Meredith GREY and the show for 19 seasons!" Pompeo wrote on Instagram. "Through it all….none of it …would have been possible without the best fans in the world. You all are RIDERS and you all have made the ride so fun and ICONIC!!"
With other longtime cast members leaving the show in recent years (Jesse Williams, Justin Chambers, Patrick Dempsey, and Sandra Oh, to name a few), it seemed like only a matter of time before Pompeo would also move on. In recent episodes, Grey decides to move to Boston after her daughter falls in love with a school there and Jackson Avery (Williams) offers her a job to research a cure for Alzheimer's.
But like other former full-time cast members, Pompeo is expected to come back for guest appearances on the show. Along with Williams, Kate Walsh, who plays Addison Montgomery and who starred in the Grey's spinoff Private Practice, has appeared in multiple episodes this season.
"This isn’t your first time on the rollercoaster," Pompeo wrote, "you know the show must go on and I’ll definitely be back to visit."
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