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Same-sex marriage legal in at least 10 more states after Supreme Court declines to intervene

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up the hotly contested issue of gay marriage, a surprise move that will allow gay men and women to marry in five states where same-sex weddings were previously banned.

By rejecting appeals in cases involving Virginia, Oklahoma, Utah, Wisconsin and Indiana, the court left intact lower-court rulings that struck down bans in those states.

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Other states under the jurisdiction of appeals courts that struck down the bans will also be affected, meaning the number of states with gay marriage is likely to quickly jump from 19 to 30.

The other states would be North Carolina, West Virginia, South Carolina, Wyoming, Kansas and Colorado.

The high court’s decision not to hear the cases was unexpected because most legal experts believed it would want to weigh in on a question of national importance that focuses on whether the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal treatment under the law means gay marriage bans were unlawful.

The issue could still return to the court, but the message sent by the court in declining to hear the matter would be a boost to gay marriage advocates involved in similar litigation in states that still have bans on the books.

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Just over a year ago, the justices ruled 5-4 in June 2013 to strike down a key part of a federal law that had restricted the definition of marriage to heterosexual couples for the purpose of federal government benefits.

That decision in the case U.S. v. Windsor led to a series of court rulings favoring gay marriage in numerous states. In a separate case decided on the same day, the justices sidestepped the broader question of whether state bans violated the U.S. Constitution but allowed gay marriage to move forward in California.

The momentum within America’s courts in favor of gay marriage reflects a sea-change in public opinion in the past decade, with polls showing a steady increase in support. Politicians, mostly Democrats but also some notable Republicans, have increasingly voiced their support for ending bans.

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It was only as recently as 2004 that Massachusetts became the first state to allow gay marriage following a state court ruling the previous year.

In 17 other states, judges have issued rulings in favor of gay marriage – most of which struck down bans – although the prohibitions have remained intact while litigation continues.

State officials defending their bans counter that the Constitution does not dictate how states should define marriage and that there is no deeply rooted legal tradition that supports a right to gay marriage.

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(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)


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REVEALED: Russia carried out ‘stunning’ operation that hurt FBI’s ability to track its spies during 2016 election

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Yahoo News is reporting that Russia carried out what is being described as a "stunning" operation in the United States that hampered the FBI's ability to track Russian spies during the 2016 presidential election.

According to Yahoo, Russia in 2016 made a technological breakthrough that allowed it to compromise the FBI's encrypted radio systems used by mobile surveillance teams who keep tabs on suspected Russian spies operating in the U.S. Russia even managed to compromise these teams' backup systems that consisted of cellphones with push-to-talk capabilities, thus further hindering the surveillance teams' ability to do their jobs.

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The DOJ is suing Omarosa over the same law Brett Kavanaugh is accused of violating: Ex-White House ethics chief

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On Monday, former Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub noted a massive double standard at the Justice Department, pointing out that government attorneys are suing Omarosa Manigault Newman for financial disclosure violations — while giving a free pass to Brett Kavanaugh, who is accused of even more serious financial disclosure violations.

In fact, noted Shaub, not only is the DOJ not pursuing that allegation, Attorney General Bill Barr is giving the DOJ employees who helped fast-track Kavanaugh through Supreme Court confirmation hearings a prestigious award, usually reserved for prosecutors who take down terrorists and mob bosses:

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2020 Election

Trump’s longshot bid to win New Mexico has political leaders baffled: ‘He’s a batsh*t racist’

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Despite losing New Mexico by eight points in the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump and his campaign manager Brad Pascale are making big plans to win the state in 2020 -- and that has political observers baffled.

With Trump appearing in New Mexico on Monday night, Politico reports the president has his work cut out for him in a state that saw the GOP lose the governorship and one House seat in 2018.

"The Land of Enchantment has voted for a Republican presidential candidate only once since 1992. With a considerable nonwhite voter population and all-Democratic congressional delegation, it’s not exactly fertile ground for a surprise GOP victory," the report notes before adding that Parscale feels they can make inroads this go-around.

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