Freddie Gray death ruled homicide; 6 officers charged

There is a connection or a link between homophobia and racism, it’s all discrimination and prejudice against people who are different

Same-sex marriage is a constitutional right

There was a time women weren’t allowed to vote. A time when a black woman could not marry a white man. And a time when African Americans could not buy certain homes.

The Supreme Court struck down those laws — and more — in historic decisions that not only changed America for the better but created the backbone of our civil rights legacy.

This week, the court heard what could be one of the most important civil rights cases of our time on the issue of same-sex marriage.

The justices should be on the right side of history and rule that forbidding the most basic of rights, marriage, is discriminatory and a violation of equal protection rights.

The case before the Supreme Court, Obergefell v. Hodges, combines four cases from Tennessee, Michigan, Kentucky and Ohio.

And what the court must decide on boils down to whether states are constitutionally required to license same-sex marriages or recognize such marriages from other states. There are 14 states that have constitutional amendments that ban gay marriage, including Texas and Louisiana.

But in some ways this is not a new question. In 1967, the court was asked whether states can ban certain marriages like that of Mildred and Richard Loving. At the time interracial marriages were prohibited in 16 states, a holdover of America’s Jim Crow laws.

In the opinion striking down those states’ laws, Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote: “The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.”

It still is today.

He went on: “To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law.”

Analysts, commentators and others have tried to read into the questions Justice Anthony Kennedy posed during the two-plus hours of arguments before the court this week. The issue of equal protection plays large.

Kennedy may well be the swing vote on the court. But he shouldn’t be because this is an issue all should agree is a matter of equal protection.

The bottom line is that this is about equality and freedom, the most basic constitutional tenets.

This is not about defining what a family is, a relative term anyway.

LGBT rights are human rights

  • By Dana Hillard

    Posted May. 1, 2015 at 3:15 AM

    This week marks a historic milestone as the United States Supreme Court hears arguments on the right of all Americans to marriage equality – a case that could change the landscape of human rights in this country forever. Because as none other than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has affirmed, marriage equality is exactly that: a question of human rights.

    Earlier this month, Clinton made her position on this landmark case clear, declaring that marriage equality is a constitutional right. Clinton’s statement is important not only as a candidate for president of the United States, but as an influential and respected figure with a long history of public service. Clinton has a strong record of supporting LGBT rights in her public service career – and she is a perfect example of the genuine evolution this support can take, and the importance of public conversation.

    As Secretary of State, Clinton spearheaded the first-ever U.S. government strategy dedicated to combating anti-LGBT human rights abuses abroad. And she made headlines around the world with her International Human Rights Day speech declaring “gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.”

    But most importantly, though she could not then comment on domestic policy issues such as marriage equality, she led by example, overseeing sweeping changes in the State Department’s treatment of its own LGBT diplomats. She led a fundamental policy shift that resulted in guaranteeing for the first time that same-sex partners and families would receive the same benefits and protections as those of all American diplomats serving their country abroad. And she was unequivocal in her condemnation that regulations denying same-sex American families vital rights – like the use of U.S medical facilities abroad – were not only unfair, they were harmful to U.S diplomacy. Secretary Clinton’s rationale was clear: LGBT families are American families, LGBT rights are a matter of fundamental equality, and that equality is the foundation of the American experience.

    After leaving office, Clinton was free to express her personal feelings – and she quickly affirmed her wholehearted support of marriage equality. She could not have said it clearer than this: “LGBT Americans are full and equal citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship. That includes marriage. I support it personally and as a matter of policy and law.”

    Clinton went on to say that her views evolved “based on the experiences that I had with so many people who I knew and cared about.” And why not? Many of our friends and neighbors have gone through a similar process, reaching a fuller understanding of the importance of legal equality as they learn more about the struggles experienced by those they respect, admire, and love. They learn about the fear when a partner falls ill without legal recognition for care, and the joy when loved ones are able to share in a couple’s wedding day. That is precisely how the tide of public opinion changes, supporting the legal strides that now leave the Supreme Court on the verge of ensuring the equality all Americans deserve.

    This is why we need conversation, and this is why it is so important that major figures make their support public, as Hillary Clinton has done. The more we have these conversations – the more we all understand the commonality of our experience – the more those who live side by side with us will realize what Clinton has said over and over again: LGBT rights are human rights. Period.

    Dana Hilliard is the mayor of Somersworth, and thought to be the first openly gay mayor in New Hampshire.

(CNN) — [Breaking news update at 10:50 a.m.]

Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby told reporters Friday that her office’s investigation, coupled with a medical examiner’s determination that Freddie Gray’s death was a homicide, led her to determine there is probable cause to file criminal charges.

Mosby said that three Baltimore police officers illegally arrested Gray on April 12. She also said that a knife that Gray had was not illegal.

A statement for charges against six police officers was filed Friday morning, she said. Warrants have been issued for their arrests, but it was still unknown if any were in custody at this point.

One officer — the driver of the police van — has been charged with several counts, including second-degree depraved-heart murder. Another officer has been charged with several counts, including manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.

Two other…

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