Friday News Bites: Animals! Marriage! Space! Oh My.

Happy Friday, everyone! We’ve got an oddball assortment of stories I found interesting, plus some great new developments on the marriage equality front.

In Marriage Equality News:

On October 6th, the Supreme Court denied review of all marriage equality cases before it, which meant that same-sex couples in Virginia, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oklahoma and Utah could no longer be denied marriage licenses. This non-ruling also paved the way for other cases across the U.S., effectively making marriage equality an easier gain in 30 states.

Then on October 7th, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the same-sex marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada were unconstitutional, and marriage licenses have been issued, but full-on legality is not yet set in stone. (Soon though, I bet.)

And in my home state of Montana, the four couples legally seeking to overturn the same-sex marriage ban (including two of my friends! Holla!) have asked a federal judge to rule on the issue without going to trial. Montana is part of the 9th Circuit, so the related rulings in other states should help their case.

Everything is moving quickly (yay!), but it can be hard to keep up with everything. BuzzFeed has a frequently updating map to show what is going on where. Who knows, by the time this post goes live, there could be even more to report.

Activism-Related News:

You’ve likely heard that 17-year-old education activist Malala Yousafzai has won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, and I love that she was at school when the award was announced.

19-year-old Virginia resident Caleb Laieski has filed suit with the U.S. District Court hoping to lift the FDA ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood:

Laieski says the ban violates his constitutional rights, and the rights of others, by preventing him from participating in the “lifesaving act” of donating blood because of his sexual orientation. 

In recent years, similar bans have been lifted or modified in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, South Africa, Sweden and New Zealand, allowing gay and bisexual men to donate blood under less stringent restrictions.

Laieski has been active in the LGBT rights movement since age 14 when he was a victim of anti-gay bullying at his Arizona high school. He rose to national prominence in May 2011 when he traveled to Washington to lobby members of Congress to support the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA).

The protests and police clashes during #FergusonOctober produced an interesting photo of a young boy watching the events unfold. I don’t mean to diminish the actual work being done by protesters, but I still wanted to share this bit of photojournalism.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court allowed Texas abortion clinics to remain open despite the new, strict laws imposed upon them. The law would have eliminated all but eight providers in the state, and if the clinics closed while appeals went forward, many of them would have been unable to reopen.

Animals!

This almost could have gone under my Activism header, but Loukanikos, Greece’s famous “Riot Dog,” has died. R.I.P. Shouty-Dog.

I’m still giggling over this because smart birds are fascinating: “Parrot missing for years returns speaking Spanish.”

Meet Blosom, “The World’s Tallest Cow.”

R.I.P.

Comedian and former Saturday Night Live cast member Jan Hooks died on October 9th at the age of 57. The official cause of death was not released.

Ikey Owens, keyboardist for Jack White and formerly of Mars Volta and numerous other bands, died from a heart attack while on tour with White. He was 38.

In Other News:

Morrissey recently revealed that he’s been undergoing treatment for cancer. In typical Morrissey fashion, he said, “If I die, then I die.”

Possibly the best headline I read this week? “At 113, Woman Lies About Her Age So She Can Join Facebook.”

Or maybe you speculative fiction/sci-fi writers will get something out of this headline: “Secret U.S. Space Plane To Land After 22 Months In Orbit.”

And Finally…

This might only be news to me, but it’s my party and I’ll gush if I want to: Here’s Ryan Adams covering one of his old Whiskeytown tunes, something that rarely happens:

Until next time, Unicorns!

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Sara Habein

Sara Habein is the author of Infinite Disposable, a collection of microfiction, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus, Pajiba and Word Riot, among others. Her book reviews and other commentary appear at Glorified Love Letters, and she is the co-manager of Electric City Creative.

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