Top 5 Nation & World news stories of 2013

By : Staff Report
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Supreme Court overturns DOMA
On June 26, the U.S Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1996 law blocking federal recognition of marriage. DOMA had denied federal benefits to same-sex couples who were legally married in their states, including Social Security survivor benefits, immigration rights and family leave. In his majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote, “The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the state, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity.”

8 more states see same-sex weddings
In a sea change of support for marriage equality, eight states began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2013. Maryland started in January, and California resumed issuing licenses in June after the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated Proposition the state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Gay and lesbian couples began marrying in Delaware in July; and in Minnesota, New Mexico and Rhode Island in August. New Jersey adopted same-sex marriage in October and Hawaii followed in November. Illinois also passed marriage equality legislation in November, with same-sex marriages beginning there June 2014.
France, England approve same-sex marriage
France legalized same-sex marriage and adoption by same-sex couples in May after a wrenching national debate and protests that flooded the streets of Paris, often erupting in violence. In a historic ceremony broadcast live on French television, the first gay couple married in France on May 29. Across the Channel, Queen Elizabeth II approved a bill legalizing marriage equality in England and Wales on July 17, one day after the bill cleared Parliament. Same-sex marriages in England are scheduled to begin March 2014.

India, Australia backslide on equality
Despite gains in the U.S. and around the globe, some countries regressed on LGBT rights, none more surprising than India and Australia. India reverted to colonial-era law when its supreme court in December overturned a 2009 ruling decriminalizing homosexual relations, holding that it was constitutional to ban carnal intercourse against the order of nature. In Australia, lesbians and gays began marrying in the Australian Capital Territory on Dec. 7, only to have their unions invalidated five days later when the High Court struck down the October law authorizing marriage equality.

Boy Scouts accept openly gay boys
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) in May opened its ranks to gay Scouts but not gay adult Scout leaders. The BSA National Council vote result was welcomed by many gay rights groups, but many religious institutions, which charter about 70 percent of the more than 100,000 U.S. Scouting units were upset and threatened to defect.

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