Maryland Senate votes to approve same-sex marriage bill

Maryland governor Martin O’Malley after supporting same-sex marriage
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

The Maryland Senate voted Thursday evening to legalize same-sex marriage, the latest sign of growing national recognition of such unions among gay and lesbian couples.

Gov. Martin O’Malley has pledged to sign the bill into law. “All children deserve the opportunity to live in a loving, caring, committed, and stable home, protected equally under the law,” O’Malley said in a statement after the vote.

New Jersey lawmakers approved same-sex marriage this month, but Gov. Chris Christie vetoed the legislation. He has said voters should decide the issue in a statewide referendum…

Proving once again what cowards Republican politicians may be.

…Lawsuits seeking to expand civil unions or turn back laws banning same-sex marriages are working through the courts in at least 12 states, including Hawaii, Minnesota and California, the organization said.

The flurry of activity is a stark change from two decades ago, when the issue of same-sex marriage first gained national attention. Just a decade ago, no states allowed such unions…

In November, the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press reported a more divided public — 46% in favor of same-sex marriages and 44% opposed. But Pew also said the uptick in support seems to be gaining steam, having jumped 9 percentage points in two years.

The shifting attitudes have emboldened proponents of same-sex marriage.

“There’s no question that with so many Americans having changed their minds and opened their hearts as they’ve heard the stories of real couples and thought about why marriage matters, we now have tremendous momentum towards ending marriage discrimination,” said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, which favors recognizing a right to marriage for gay couples.

“We could see a nationwide victory as soon as one to two years. It could also take as much as 10 years.”

The homophobic Right will dedicate their money to referenda in parallel with the history of racists losing control of legal segregation in the United States during the rise of civil rights movements, civil rights legislation respecting the Constitution. Part of their dedication to green power rather than a constitutional dedication to civilization will be the bucks they will continue to spend on trying to save DOMA, the so-called Defense Of Marriage Act which took another just hit, today.

Choose 60 days in jail or 30 days of apologizing on Facebook?

Photographer Mark Byron was so bothered by his pending divorce and child visitation issues that he blasted his soon-to-be ex-wife on his personal Facebook page…That touched off a battle that resulted in a Hamilton County judge ordering Byron jailed for his Facebook rant — or, to avoid the jail sentence, to post on his page an apology to his wife and all of his Facebook friends, something free-speech experts found troubling…

Hanni Fakhoury, a staff lawyer with the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the rulings are unique and “raise quite a few” free-speech issues…”There haven’t been a lot of cases that have dealt with this particular issue,” he said.

Mark and Elizabeth Byron had a son in July 2010, but their marriage soon became troubled. She accused him of verbally abusing her, threatening her with his fist and threatening to “end” her life. While Mark Byron, who has done freelance photography for The Enquirer, was exonerated of criminal allegations, a civil protective order was issued instructing him to stay away from his wife…

“… if you are an evil, vindictive woman who wants to ruin your husband’s life and take your son’s father away from him completely — all you need to do is say that you’re scared of your husband or domestic partner… , ” he wrote on Facebook.

Elizabeth Byron learned of the post — even though her husband had blocked her from viewing his page — and thought it violated a previous protective order that prevented Mark Byron from doing anything to cause his wife “to suffer physical and/or mental abuse, harassment, annoyance, or bodily injury…”

Domestic Relations Magistrate Paul Meyers found Mark Byron in contempt and ordered him jailed for 60 days beginning March 19 — or to post for 30 days on his Facebook page an apology to his wife, written by Meyers, if he wanted to avoid jail. He also had to pay her $1,156 in back child support and her lawyers’ fees…

I didn’t think I had an option,” said Mark Byron, who has been posting the apology on Facebook for a week.

Har. The free speech question is an important one. Having a husband who’s an ego-smitten fool – and possibly dangerous – is another.

You can RTFA for the content of his new posting.

Afghan boys halted on way to Pakistan madrassah to be indoctrinated as suicide bombers

Afghan police said they rescued a convoy of 41 children, some aged as young as six, from being smuggled over the border to Pakistan and trained as suicide bombers.

The children were stopped in a convoy of cars driven by four Afghan men in the mountainous eastern province of Kunar, police and interior ministry officials said. They said their parents had been fooled into believing they were sending their children to religious schools across the border, but were instead being sent to be trained to attack Afghan and international forces.

“They were bringing these children in the name of education, but they were not being sent to schools,” a police official in the province said, “They were being sent to be suicide bombers”.

The children were to be taken to a madrassah at Shamshato, close to Peshawar, which officials said was a recruiting ground for militants belonging to Hizb-i-Islami, one of Afghanistan’s main insurgent factions…

Several said they were from the violent Pech and Korengal valleys and had lost their fathers in clashes between American troops and insurgents, or in Nato airstrikes. They told reporters that with their fathers gone, their families could not afford to look after them so they were being sent to private madrassahs where they would receive free food and clothes…

Seddiq Seddiqi, spokesman for the interior ministry, said: “It was obvious what was happening with these boys. They were being taken across the border, without any paperwork or documentation, to Pakistan where there are lots of these madrassahs. They train these children and then they send them back to carry out attacks.”

The shame, the crime of stealing the youth, the lives of these children rests solely on the heads of the base criminals leading the Taliban theocracy. They are as guilty as any thug who steals and kills children for profit.

Using schools, clothing and food for the poor as an instrument to brainwash children is nothing new – in many cultures. Doing so to turn them into murderers is reprehensible.

S-O-M wins master plan competition for Beijing redevelopment

Architectural practice SOM’s 17.6-sq km master plan for Beijing Bohai Innovation City has won an international design competition for the redevelopment of the region. The design is focused on a redevelopment corridor along the high-speed rail connection between Beijing, and the port of Tianjin. Though incorporating existing infrastructure, the scheme constitutes an ambitious planned city, and one which, if fully realized, may set a new standard for environmentally-conscious urban planning.

Half of the allocated site will be green in the literal sense – devoted to natural and other open areas. But perhaps the plan’s greatest claim to environmental soundness is its commitment to greener modes of transport – high speed rail for getting in and out of the city, but with a focus on foot traffic within the urban center itself…

But the plan by no means relies on pedestrians. A rapid transit bus system and electric car fleet are envisaged. Streets are designed to be cycling-friendly, and SOM hopes that combined, the bus system, walking and cycling will account for 80% of private inner city journeys.

SOM (short for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP) additionally claims that its scheme sets “aggressive goals for water, energy, waste, renewable energy and building design efficiency”, incorporates a wetland park habitat, and incorporates a storm water filtration and cleaning system to return uncontaminated water to the region’s rivers…

The competition was entitled “Beijing Bohai Rim Advanced Business Park“, held by Beijing Tongzhou District Taihu High End Headquarters Construction Management Committee and Beijing Xinghu Investment and Development Co. Ltd. In winning it, SOM have further cemented their reputation as leaders in the field of Chinese development, having carried out numerous projects in Tianjin, and submitting an award-winning master plan for the the expansion of Beijing’s central business district.


8th-grader suspended for use, possession or traffic — of oregano

An eighth-grade student in North Carolina was suspended for 55 days for showing another boy a bag of oregano and claiming it was marijuana, his family said.

“It was just a joke,” the boy’s mother told “He’s embarrassed that it’s turned into such a big issue. He’s actually said he doesn’t know why he did it. But he didn’t have an illegal substance to begin with.”

The Rutherford Institute, a civil liberties group best known for defending the right to religious expression, has taken up the boy’s cause. John Whitehead, the institute’s president, said the suspension may violate the boy’s constitutional rights…

Under Union County Public Schools policy, students can be suspended for 10 days for possession of a real or counterfeit drug with an additional 45 days possible if the student’s behavior was egregious. Whitehead argues that oregano is clearly not an illegal drug, and the school district does not define counterfeit drugs.

Any schools left in this nation that [a] concentrate on education instead of being nannies – and [b] have a sense of humor?