About Robert A. Vella

Blogger, science fiction author, and cultural essayist.

This Is What Happens To Court Clerks Who Refuse To Issue Same Sex Marriage Licenses

In Texas, Hood County Clerk Katie Lang had refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples for well over a week after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. The conservative group Texas Values rallied in her defense and even the Family Research Council propped up her discriminatory cause.

[…]

Monday morning, Cato and Stapleton filed a federal lawsuit, which describes their experiences being rejected as “humiliating and degrading.” Less than two hours after the suit was filed, Lang’s office issued the couple a marriage license.

Continue reading:  This Is What Happens To Court Clerks Who Refuse To Issue Same Sex Marriage Licenses

Related story:  Sam Brownback (R-KS) signs sweeping anti-LGBT executive order

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What Happened When Scientists Put African Americans On An African Diet And Africans On An American Diet

In a study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh, 20 African Americans and 20 South Africans switched diets for two weeks. In this time, the Africans consumed traditional American food — meat and cheese high in fat content — while African Americans took on a traditional African diet — high in fiber and low in fat, with plenty of vegetables, beans, and cornmeal, with little meat.

After the exchange, researchers performed colonoscopies on both groups and found that those in the African diet group increased the production of butyrate, a fatty acid proven to protect against colon cancer. Members of the American diet group, on the other hand, developed changes in their gut that scientists say precede the development of cancerous cells.

http://thinkprogress.org/health/2015/05/15/3658983/going-back-to-the-motherland/

Idaho abortion restrictions are unconstitutional: appeals court

An Idaho law that prohibits abortions of fetuses 20 or more weeks after fertilization is unconstitutional, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Friday.

The ruling, from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, also struck down an Idaho law that required all second-trimester abortions to occur in a hospital.

Bans on abortion after 20 weeks have been passed in 12 U.S. states since 2010, according to NARAL Pro-Choice America, an abortion rights advocacy group. The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives passed a measure this month that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks. The bill faces an uncertain future in the Senate, and Democratic President Barack Obama opposes it.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/29/us-usa-abortion-idUSKBN0OE25O20150529

After Baltimore: Soul Searching in Another America

Reblogged from The Secular Jurist:

By Richard Eskow

[…]

You won’t see structural violence on the television news, because it isn’t the stuff of headlines. Johan Galtung, the Norwegian sociologist and mathematician who invented the field of conflict resolution, explained why in a 1969 paper:

“Personal violence represents change and dynamism – not only ripples on waves, but waves on otherwise tranquil waters. Structural violence is silent, it does not show – it is essentially static, it is the tranquil waters.”

When he spoke of Baltimore the other day, President Obama predicted that “we’ll go through the same cycles of periodic conflicts between the police and communities and the occasional riots in the streets. And everybody will feign concern until it goes away and then we go about our business as usual.”

He is almost certainly right. But the president did not offer a clear vision for ending the structural failures that have generated this cycle of conflict. That vision is urgently needed. The time for soul searching is now.

The curfew has been lifted in Baltimore. But the poverty remains, and so does the death and injury it brings. The waters are tranquil tonight. But across the many Americas, our common future is hidden in shadows.

http://ourfuture.org/20150504/baltimore-soul-searching-in-another-america

Boycott Indiana over its legalizing discrimination against LGBT persons, including the NCAA Final Four

Make a statement!  Take a stand!  Boycott the state of Indiana over its new law which legalizes discrimination against the LGBT community.  Your boycott should include the NCAA men’s basketball “Final Four” tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on April 4, 2015.  Please don’t watch it, and certainly don’t attend the event.

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Updated reading:

The Big Lie The Media Tells About Indiana’s New ‘Religious Freedom’ Law

Boycott these 5 common products made in Indiana

Apple CEO Tim Cook criticizes discriminatory “religious freedom” laws

In conservative Indiana, bemusement at boycott threats over “religious freedom” law