New Zealand legalizes same-sex marriage

via Digital Journal

New Zealand has become the 13th nation and the first in the Asia-Pacific region to legalize same-sex marriage after parliament voted to amend the nation’s marriage act on Wednesday.

The New Zealand Herald reports that the public gallery erupted in jubilation after the legislature’s 77-44 vote was announced. Lawmakers then embraced and exchanged congratulations as the gallery, and some MPs, sang a waiata, the New Zealand love song “Pokarekare Ana.” Hundreds of LGBT advocates also celebrated outside parliament after the historic vote.

While same-sex civil unions have been legal in New Zealand since 2005, the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill updates a 1955 law in order to “ensure that all people, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity will have the opportunity to marry if they so choose.”

Remember when this was unthinkable? Who knows, maybe one day, we’ll even get to register guns.

45 senators side with gun lobby as Newtown families look on

Think Progress via email:

You’d think that more than 90 percent of the American people and 55 senators — a majority — in favor of something would be enough to get it done. You would be wrong. Late this afternoon, a minority of senators “chose instead to obey the leaders of the powerful corporate gun lobby, instead of their constituents,” as former Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly said following the vote.

These 45 senators, most but not all of whom were Republicans, voted against a bipartisan compromise to expand background checks in order to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and other dangerous people. 90 percent of Democrats voted for expanding background checks, but 90 percent of Republicans voted no. As New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, today’s vote “handed criminals a huge victory, by preserving their ability to buy guns illegally at gun shows and online and keeping the illegal trafficking market well-fed.”

That wasn’t the end of it. A bipartisan plan to crack down on gun trafficking — a plan even the NRA agreed to — also failed to attract the necessary 60 votes. A ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, something backed by a majority of Americans, was also voted down.

Worse yet, all of this happened as Newtown families and other victims of gun violence looked on from the Senate gallery. One woman, a survivor of the Tucson shooting, shouted “shame on you!” after they watched senators vote down background checks.

Despite today’s setback, President Obama, Newtown parents, and other gun violence prevention advocates vowed to continue the fight to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them. In fact, it’s time for all of us to redouble our commitment to action and let our elected leaders know that there’s a price for ignoring 90 percent of us.

(h/t William White.)

Morality for thee, not for me

Of course, only a foreign reporter would ask this:

Matthew Keys, the social media editor at Reuters, posted audio of a reporter asking White House Press Secretary Jay Carney if U.S. bombings that kill innocent civilians in Afghanistan constitute an “act of terror” given the labeling of the Boston Marathon bombing as “terrorism”. She specifically refers to a U.S. airstrike earlier this month that killed 11 children, just the latest in a seemingly endless line of Afghan civilian deaths at the hands of the U.S. government.

Carney completely dodged the questions, pointing instead to the 9/11 terrorist attacks to justify U.S. bombings in Afghanistan. After a long-winded answer excusing U.S. conduct, Carney concludes, “ we take great care in the prosecution of this war.”

Tell me, does this look like “great care” to you?

The lifeless bodies of Afghan children lay on the ground before their funeral ceremony, after a NATO airstrike killed several Afghan civilians, including ten children during a fierce gun battle with Taliban militants in Shultan, Shigal district, Kunar, eastern Afghanistan, Sunday, April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Naimatullah Karyab)

REPORTER: I send my deepest condolence to the victims and families in Boston. But President Obama said that what happened in Boston was an act of terrorism. I would like to ask, Do you consider the U.S. bombing on civilians in Afghanistan earlier this month that left 11 children and a woman killed a form of terrorism? Why or why not?

JAY CARNEY: Well, I would have to know more about the incident and then obviously the Department of Defense would have answers to your questions on this matter. We have more than 60,000 U.S. troops involved in a war in Afghanistan, a war that began when the United States was attacked, in an attack that was organized on the soil of Afghanistan by al Qaeda, by Osama bin laden and others and more than 3,000 people were killed in that attack. And it has been the President’s objective once he took office to make clear what our goals are in Afghanistan and that is to disrupt, dismantle and ultimately defeat al Qaeda. And with that as our objective to provide enough assistance to Afghan National Security Forces and the Afghan government to allow them to take over security for themselves. And that process is underway and the United States has withdrawn a substantial number of troops and we are in the process of drowning down further as we hand over security lead to Afghan forces. And it is certainly the case that I refer you to the defense department for details that we take great care in the prosecution of this war and we are very mindful of what our objectives are.

In other words, “I don’t get paid to tell the truth.”

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