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Saturday, April 21, 2018

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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a ruling by Judge Vaughn Walker declaring Proposition 8 unconstitutional.  Writes Judge Stephen Reinhardt in a 2-1 decision: "We consider whether that amendment violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. We conclude that it does."  "Proposition 8 served no purpose,a nd has no effect, other than to lessen the status & human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples."

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A stay on the decision remains in place, as many expected, so same-sex marriages will not immediately resume.

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The West Virginia state Board of Education unanimously adopted revisions to its student behavior policy protecting sexual orientation and gender identity, the Charleston Daily Mail reports: WV Board members unanimously approved Policy 4373, titled Expected Behavior in Safe and Supportive Schools, amid a flurry of public comments. Public speakers were limited to three minutes each.

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The policy combines four previous polices regarding student behavior and discipline.

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How do I talk with my teen about sex?  Parents are a teenager's primary source of information and guidance in matters of sex, sexuality, dating and love. "The Talk" should be an ongoing series of discussions that take place whenever your teenager has a question concerning sex or whenever a "teachable moment" presents itself.

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New York City's public school students have a new course on sex education added to their curriculum this fall.  Sexual education classes now include instructions on how to use a condom, how to resist the pressure to have sex, and how to respect your partner—amongst other things that have become a mandatory course for all students.  The program is being taught once in middle school, and again in high school. This is the first time in nearly two decades a program like this has been implemented. 

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The Occupy movement came to the Supreme Court on Friday to protest the Citizens United decision on its second anniversary. What began as a peaceful gathering, complete with an acapella group of mock jurists and "Sesame Street" parodies, turned into a near-melee on the Court's steps leading to 11 arrests, according to a Court spokesperson.

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Occupy DC Protesters Unfurl a Large Tarp Over the Main Statue in McPherson Square

That idea is drawing the movement's focus from Manhattan to the Beltway and turning many of its activists into advocates for campaign finance reform, even as others oppose the shift toward politics.

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You Can Ask and They Can Tell

From the point of view of military readiness there was never going to be any threat to readiness from allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military.  Other countries such as Australia, England and Israel have allowed gays in their military for quite some time without a concern regrading military readiness.

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From a cultural perspective, this issue has always represented a line in the sand for both the gay-rights as well as the traditional-values communities. Gay groups have understood that getting rid of the military ban would be an important steppingstone for other rights like marriage equality. For traditional values groups, equal treatment of gay and lesbian troops signals the erosion of what they see as the Judeo-Christian basis of American culture. Both sides made a big deal out of the issue because, from a cultural perspective, the stakes were high.