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Court delivers brutal ruling against Kim Davis — the Kentucky clerk who blocked same-sex marriages

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In 2015, Christian fundamentalist Kim Davis (who was serving as clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky at the time) was praised by the right wing after refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples — a violation of federal law. The U.S. Supreme Court had just, in effect, legalized same-sex marriage all over the country with its ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. Some same-sex couples filed a lawsuit in response, and a federal appeals court has reaffirmed that the State of Kentucky will have to pay a hefty amount thanks to Davis.

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The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, on Friday, ruled that the State of Kentucky must pay almost $225,000 in legal fees that same-sex couples incurred because of their lawsuit against Davis. With this decision, 6th Circuit Court of Appeals was upholding a previous ruling by a federal district judge that ordered the State of Kentucky to pay that amount.

In its ruling on Friday, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals wrote, “Because Davis acted on Kentucky’s behalf when issuing and refusing to issue marriage licenses, the district court correctly imposed liability for the award on the commonwealth.”

It continued: “The district court ruled that Davis, as an official, acted on Kentucky’s behalf, meaning sovereign immunity protected her. Plaintiffs dispute that ruling. The court also ruled that plaintiffs pleaded a plausible case that Davis, as an individual, violated their right to marry and that the right was clearly established, meaning qualified immunity didn’t protect her. Davis disputes that ruling. We agree with the district court on both issues and therefore, affirm.”

The U.S. Supreme Court reached its 5-4 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges in June 2015, recognizing same-sex marriage as a constitutional right. The four right-wing dissenters in that case were Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Samuel Alito, Chief Justice John Roberts and the late Antonin Scalia — all appointed by Republican presidents. But the person who authored the decision for the majority in that case was not someone on the left wing of the Court, but rather, libertarian Justice Anthony Kennedy — a right-of-center Ronald Reagan appointee who tended to be fiscally conservative but liberal on social issues. Kennedy retired from the High Court in 2018 and was replaced by President Donald Trump’s nominee, Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, in its decision on Friday, noted that because of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, same-sex marriage became the law of the land in the United States. But because “same-sex marriage offended her religious beliefs,” the 6th Circuit wrote, “Davis took matters into her own hands. One day after the Supreme Court released Obergefell, Davis stopped issuing marriage licenses. She didn’t discriminate against same-sex couples, though; she stopped issuing licenses altogether. That meant that when plaintiffs — two same-sex couples who lived in Rowan County — sought marriage licenses from the Clerk’s Office, they couldn’t get them.”

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In an opinion concurring with the majority of the court’s conclusions, Judge John Bush found that “Davis knew or ought to have known, to a legal certainty, that she could not refuse to issue marriage licenses, as was her duty under state law, because of moral disapproval of homosexuality. And if Davis truly believed that she had a right under [Kentucky law] to not issue marriage licenses, she should have sought and obtained judicial confirmation of her claim. That, she did not do.”


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WATCH: Franklin Graham tells Jeanine Pirro coronavirus pandemic is because of people sinning

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Franklin Graham blamed sinners for the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic during a Saturday night appearance on Fox News.

Host Jeanine Pirro noted the growing death toll and wondered how God could let that happen.

"Well, I don't think it's God's plan for this to happen," Graham said.

"It's because of the sin that's in the world, judge," he argued.

"Man has turned his back on God, we have sinned against him, and we need to ask for God's forgiveness and that's what Easter's all about," he continued.

"This pandemic, this is the result of a fallen world that has turned its back on God," he added.

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Drought causing water shortage amid coronavirus crisis in Chile

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With historically low river flows and reservoirs running dry due to drought, people in central Chile have found themselves particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic.

Years of resource exploitation and lax legislation have allowed most reservoirs in that part of the country to run dry.

"There are now 400,000 families, nearly 1.5 million people approximately, whose supply of 50 liters of water a day depends on tankers," Rodrigo Mundaca, spokesman for the Movement for the Defense of Water, the Earth and the Protection of the Environment, told AFP.

One of the main pieces of advice to protect people against coronavirus is to wash your hands regularly.

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Trump warns of ‘tough week’ ahead — after the United States surpassed 300,000 coronavirus victims

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US President Donald Trump warned Americans on Saturday to brace for a "very horrendous" number of coronavirus deaths in the coming days as the total number of global fatalities from the pandemic soared past 60,000.

As confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States surpassed 300,000 with more than 8,300 deaths, there was some encouraging news in Italy and Spain.

Europe continues to bear the brunt of the epidemic, however, accounting for over 45,000 of the worldwide deaths, and Britain reported a new daily high in fatalities.

There are now more than 1.17 million confirmed coronavirus cases around the world and there have been 63,437 deaths since the virus emerged in China late last year.

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