Republican Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn have voiced their support for a group of high school cheerleaders in Texas who are currently involved in a lawsuit over painting Bible verses on banners prior to school football games. A judge had previously ruled the religious banners were constitutional after the school initially banned them, and the case is currently before the Ninth District Court of Appeals.
Cruz and Cornyn submitted a joint amicus brief in the court case Kountze Independent School District v. Cotti Matthews last week. The court case is between the Kountze Independent School District and parents of students at Kountze High School in East Texas.
Last year, the school district ordered cheerleaders at the high school to stop painting Bible passages on large paper banners, which football players would run through at the start of each football game. The school district had banned the banners after receiving a threatening letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and parents filed a lawsuit against the district arguing that because the banners were created by the cheerleaders, they were not endorsed by the public school and therefore were not in violation of the Establishment Clause. more >>
The Supreme Court of India ruled on Wednesday to reinstate a ban on gay sexual relations, threatening violators with up to 10 years in jail.
The Supreme Court decided to overturn a 2009 Delhi High Court decision which ruled as unconstitutional a section of the penal code dating back to 1860 that prohibits "carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal," Reuters reported. The judges decided that only the parliament can change this certain section.
"It's a black day for us," said Anjali Gopalan, the executive director of the Naz Foundation, in support of gay rights. "I feel exhausted right now, thinking that we have been set back by 100 years." more >>
Ronald Clinton Lott, 53, was executed by the State of Oklahoma last night for the first-degree murders and rapes of 83-year-old Anna Laura Fowler and 93-year-old Zelma Cutler. Lott had been on death row since 2001 and another man was originally convicted for the crimes but was set free in 1998.
Robert Lee Miller Jr. was originally convicted of the crimes and sentenced to death. He served 11 years on death row before DNA evidence proved that Lott was the one actually responsible for the rapes and murders. Lott fought his conviction and sentence but was denied clemency by the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board last month. He apologized to the victims' families during the hearing.
"I'm so sorry for what I've done, and I'd ask them to forgive me. I caused them so much hurt and pain," Lott said. more >>
A Christmas party in Arizona turned deadly when a neighbor tried to crash the party, was asked to leave, went home and returned to the party dressed in camouflage and opened fire. Daniel Taylor, 18, was arrested after a standoff with police and later charged with first-degree murder and aggravated assault.
"He was not invited, but he thought he could just come in anyway," Sgt. Michael Pooley said on Monday. "They asked him to leave. He came back about an hour later; this time he was wearing a suit coat, slacks, and a nice shirt."
When partygoers recognized Taylor and asked him to leave, "he came back about 20 minutes later back in camouflage and had a gun." He "reached into the patio area and just started firing rounds, six to eight rounds. Unfortunately, one of those did strike Jeff Ward in the neck" and killed him instantly. more >>
Amanda Bynes set a fire in Bonnie Braaten's driveway in Thousand Oaks, California in August, leading to her involuntary psych hold and treatment. Now that Bynes has been released from her treatment facility, Braaten is speaking out about the incident and offering forgiveness to the young star.
"I just hope she got better," Braaten told Radar Online. "I'm glad she's getting treated at home; people don't get over drug addiction overnight. There's nothing to be angry about. It doesn't do you any good. I forgive her. I feel sorry for her that she got herself into that mind."
Bynes started a small fire in Braaten's driveway and ended up catching her own pants on fire; her small dog was covered in gasoline and could have easily caught fire and perished. An observer called the authorities and Bynes was taken into custody; she was placed on a 5150 hold, which required her to receive some form of psychological treatment. A judge determined that she needed further care, and Bynes has been receiving treatment ever since. She was just released last week. more >>
Former San Diego mayor Bob Filner was sentenced to three months of home confinement and three years of probation after a criminal probe into his behavior with female colleagues. Filner will have to continue mental health care treatment and cannot hold public office until his probation ends.
The former mayor allegedly groped and harassed female workers during his time in office. Several women came forward and accused Filner of inappropriate behavior. That led the mayor to try and hold onto his office by stepping back and seeking mental health treatment. He refused to resign and agreed to two weeks of intense therapy.
"Beginning on August 5, I will be entering a behavior counseling clinic to undergo weeks of intensive therapy," Filner said in his first press conference addressing his behavior. "The behavior I have engaged in over many years is wrong. I apologize to my staff, I apologize to the citizens and staff members who have supported me over the years. I apologize to the people of San Diego, and most of all, I apologize to the women I have offended." more >>