Credit: Victoria Pickering on Flickr, under Creative Commons.
The Supreme Court heard arguments March 27 in a case that challenges the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law that defines marriage as between one man and one woman. It was the second of two days of oral arguments on cases related to same-sex marriage, following a March 26 hearing on a case that asks the court to overturn California's ban of same-sex marriages. Proposition 8, a state ballot referendum passed in November 2008, reversed by popular vote a state Supreme Court's decision just months earlier to recognize marriage equality, The Huffington Post and other news media reported March 26. The central question in the March 26 case is whether the group that sued to cement in law California's ban on same-sex marriage has the right to challenge the state court's decision.
The case heard March 27 -- United States v. Windsor -- does not ask the justices to determine whether a constitutional right to same-sex marriage exists. Rather, it asks the court to determine the constitutionality of the federal law limiting marriage to a man and a women that President Bill Clinton signed in 1996.
On March 27, ABC News reported a majority of the Supreme Court's justices expressed skepticism about the federal law defining marriage as between one man and one woman. If the Supreme Court considers the merits of either case, it could issue a landmark ruling on same-sex marriage by the end of June.
More News to Cheer This Week:
New York City is poised to mandate that thousands of companies provide paid time off for sick employees, bolstering a national movement that has been resisted by wary business leaders, The New York Times reported March 29. The legislation would go into effect in 2014 and mandate companies with at least 15 employees to give full-time workers five compensated days off a year when they are ill. Advocates said the legislation would provide paid sick leave for one million New Yorkers who do not currently have such benefits.
Pope Francis abandoned tradition on March 28 by washing the feet of a young Muslim female prisoner, as well as another woman, in an unprecedented twist on the Holy Thursday tradition, The Telegraph reported.
Malala Yousafzai>, the Pakistani teen shot in the head by the Taliban as she returned home from school, is writing a book about the event and her long-running campaign to promote children's education, reported the Associated Press March 28.
President Barack Obama has named Julia Pierson, a longtime U.S. Secret Service agent, as the first female director of the agency, USA Today reported March 26.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with participants in a U.S.-backed women's entrepreneurship program at the American Embassy in Kabul, The NY Daily News reported March 26. He heard a succession of concerns from businesswomen fearful of what the 2014 transition will mean for not only women and girls, but for Afghanistan's commerce in general.
Female authors dominate the long list for this year's Miles Franklin literary award, earning eight of the 10 nominations, ABC News reported March 25. This is the largest female contingent since the long list was first introduced in 2005.
In just one 24-hour period, local domestic violence programs across the U.S. provided help and safety to over 64,000 adults and children who were victims of such violence, according to the annual report published March 25 by the National Network to End Domestic Violence.
Angelina Jolie, a special envoy for the U.N. refugee agency, met with women and girls in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where sexual violence is rampant, the Associated Press reported March 25. The International Rescue Committee says it has provided care to more than 2,500 women and girls who have been raped or abused over the last year alone. The United Nations Security Council authorized a new "intervention brigade" for the Democratic Republic of Congo on March 28, with an unprecedented mandate to take military action against rebel groups to help bring peace to the eastern portion of the country, reported the Associated Press.
Women employed in physically demanding jobs should be given additional maternity leave beginning prior to giving birth, according to a committee of experts that advises the Health Ministry in Israel, The Haaretz reported March 25.
The unit of Ford Motor Co. based in India has apologized for advertisements decried as demeaning to women, including one depicting Italy's former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi with a trio of bound women in the trunk of a car, the Associated Press reported March 25. The ads caused an uproar online and came just after India passed a new law on violence against women following a fatal gang rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi, which prompted mass protests and spotlighted the status of women in India.
More News to Jeer This Week:
The Kansas legislature is now working to ban abortions at the point when an embryonic heartbeat can be detected. If passed into law, the state will compete with North Dakota as having the most restrictive abortion law in the nation, RH Reality Check reported March 29. North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed March 26 the nation's most restrictive ban on abortions, not permitting abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, USA Today reported.
A female teacher was on her way to work on March 26, at an all-girls school in Shahkas, Pakistan, near the country's volatile tribal belt on the Afghan border, when two men on a motorcycle opened fire, killing her, the Daily Mail reported March 27.
The sheer number of women sexually abused and gang raped in a single public square has become too big to ignore in Egypt, The New York Times reported March 26. However, conservative Islamists in Egypt's new political elite are outraged at and blame the women.
On March 25 gunmen in Somalia shot and killed a female Somali journalist, the Associated Press reported.
Two female teens accused of threatening the 16-year-old victim in the Steubenville, Ohio, rape case were released on house arrest March 27 and ordered not to use social media, NBC News reported.
Italy's highest court March 26 ordered a new trial in the sensational case of Amanda Knox, an American exchange student accused of murdering her 21-year-old roommate, Meredith Kercher of Britain, in 2007, The New York Times reported.
The Washington Post published on March 25 nine facts about childbirth and marriage in the U.S., quoting a new report from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and the RELATE Institute. The study found, for instance, that contrary to the common belief, only 23 percent of all unmarried births are to teenagers.
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