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N.J. governor vetoes same-sex marriage bill
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Friday vetoed a bill that would allow same-sex couples to wed.
February 17th, 2012
06:15 PM ET

N.J. governor vetoes same-sex marriage bill

By David Ariosto, CNN

(CNN) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Friday vetoed a bill that would allow same-sex couples to wed, setting up a confrontation with a Democrat-controlled legislature that has vowed to eventually get the bill into law.

The state Assembly on Thursday passed the measure, which the Senate had approved Monday.

Lawmakers have until the legislative session ends in January 2014 to override Christie's veto. They would need a two-thirds majority in both houses to succeed.

Christie, the subject of speculation as a possible GOP vice presidential candidate, has said the issue "should not be decided by 121 people in the statehouse in Trenton."

He has advocated putting the issue to a referendum.

Read the full story

 

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Filed under: Politics • Who we are
I Am America: Kenyan-born American Polly Urungu
February 17th, 2012
05:57 PM ET

I Am America: Kenyan-born American Polly Urungu

17-year-old Polly Urungu lives in Eugene, Oregon, but was born in Kenya.  She became a U.S. citizen two years ago. Her parents moved to the United States to pursue their American dream.

What makes you American? Check out Polly's story and submit your own "I Am America" story on iReport.


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Opinion: Gay people don’t need your kind of love
Rev. Chewell-Hodge believes, "God loves us all and that real love heals and never divides."
February 17th, 2012
04:43 PM ET

Opinion: Gay people don’t need your kind of love

Editor’s Note: Candace Chellew-Hodge is the pastor of Jubilee! Circle church in Columbia, South Carolina. She is the founder and editor of Whosoever.org, an online magazine for LGBT Christians and the author of "Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians." Rev. Chellew-Hodge blogs regularly at Religion Dispatches.

This piece is a response to an opinion by Rev. Kenneth Hutcherson, published on this blog on February 8.

By Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Sometimes, when I’m standing in a long line at the grocery store, I kind of wish I had the civilization-destroying power that people who preach against homosexuality accuse me of having. Perhaps then the lines wouldn’t be as long, or perhaps people in front of me would part to allow the social leper to get out of the store quickly.

When I contemplate my relatively dull life of work, household chores and the occasional excitement of an evening spent with friends, I have to wonder who in the world people like Rev. Kenneth Hutcherson are talking about when they write about gays and lesbians. You see, each evening I come home to my loving partner of 11 years. She and I work, pay our bills, pay our taxes, and according to Canadian law, we are married.

If you ask Hutcherson, however, I am a source of society’s pending doom. He wrote on CNN’s In America blog recently that while he loves gay and lesbian people, our ongoing existence outside of the closet - and our temerity to suggest that we might be treated as equal human beings - “will kill you.”  Funny, I feel fine.

Hutcherson backs up his belief with bible verses, and I deeply understand and respect his fervent feelings on this matter. I grew up in the Southern Baptist church, the daughter of the pastor in the pulpit. I know the verses he uses inside and out, and I know how deeply he abuses those verses and the scripture when he quotes them against gays and lesbians. However, slinging bible verses doesn’t move the conversation very far, so I’ll leave it to other commentators to do that.

FULL POST

February 17th, 2012
01:17 PM ET

BIA update: The Warren family

In CNN's first "Black in America" documentary, we learned how Butch Warren and his wife Joyce worked hard to give their children a comfortable lifestyle, but their climb to the top came at a cost. Butch, his wife and their two sons had problems fitting in without having to prove that they belong.

The Warrens are still moving forward and making new friends along the way. See what the family is doing now.

Keep the conversation going on Twitter with #BlackinAmerica.

Engage: Federal funding awarded to tribes to develop renewable energy projects
February 17th, 2012
12:52 PM ET

Engage: Federal funding awarded to tribes to develop renewable energy projects

Engage with news and opinions from around the web about under-reported stories from undercovered communities.

$6.5 million U.S. Department of Energy award will fund 19 clean energy projects on tribal lands –Newenergyworldnetwork.com

Redistricting may help boost number of Latinos in Congress this fall –Politico

2/19/1942: 70 years ago, US President signed order that Japanese-Americans be relocated to internment camps - Multi-American blog

Q & A with  "Chico & Rita" filmmakers,  Oscar nominated animated love story set in 1940's Cuba  - Fox News Latino

Angela Davis, Talib Kweli, "More than a Month" filmmaker discuss the relevance of Black History Month - PBS Newshour

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Small-scale research on Latinos and contraception is 'one piece of a bigger puzzle'
Understanding cultural circumstances can help healthcare providers tailor family planning services.
February 17th, 2012
12:39 PM ET

Small-scale research on Latinos and contraception is 'one piece of a bigger puzzle'

By Stephanie Siek, CNN

(CNN) – According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, three in ten teenage girls will become pregnant at least once before they turn 20, but for Latina girls that rate is higher – about five in ten. There are many efforts targeting that demographic, but few of them address Latinos living outside of cities or in northwestern states that have only recently begun to see an influx of Latino immigrants.

The diversity of America's Latinos – in terms of national ancestry, socioeconomic status, level of acculturation, geographic region and educational levels means that there won't be just one overarching solution for preventing unintended pregnancies. But studies like a recent one done by Oregon State University researchers S. Maria Harvey and Jocelyn Warren, which examine a tiny subset of that population, can serve as important clues.

"Characteristics Related to Effective Contraceptive Use Among a Sample of Nonurban Latinos" was one of a number of Centers for Disease Control-funded studies looking at contraception use among Latinos in rural areas. The study results reflect a relatively narrow sample, and its authors caution that it shouldn’t be used to assume too much about Latinos' sexual health decisions as a whole. But it can help focus local efforts.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Community • Ethnicity • Family • Gender • Health • How we live • Immigration • Language • Latino in America • Relationships • Where we live
February 17th, 2012
12:32 PM ET

Puerto Rican model Joan Smalls breaks down color barriers, one runway at a time

By Emanuella Grinberg, CNN

(CNN) - Joan Smalls was 19 years old when she left her family's home in the countryside of northern Puerto Rico to pursue dreams of walking the runway.

In just four busy years, she has risen from department store catalog model to the ranks of fashion's most-sought-after models, walking for the likes of Jason Wu, Donna Karan and Tory Burch at New York's 2012 Fall Fashion Week.

Along the way, she has broken barriers by becoming the first Latina face of Estee Lauder's global marketing campaigns in 2011. She has done runway shows in New York, London, Milan, and Paris and graced the pages of British, French, Spanish and U.S. versions of Vogue several times over.

"Joan is a modern beauty with elegance, style and confidence," said Aerin Lauder, former senior vice president, and current style and image director, of Estee Lauder. "She is the perfect addition to Estee Lauder's global faces."

Read the full story

Should race be a factor in college admissions?
Gov. Jerry Brown supports the effort to overturn California's Proposition 209, which bans race as a factor in college admissions.
February 17th, 2012
10:12 AM ET

Should race be a factor in college admissions?

By Carl Azuz, CNN

(CNN) – It’s not a new debate by any stretch, but a renewed effort – and court case – are putting it back in the spotlight.  Some of California’s African-American and Latino students are hoping a federal appeals court will allow public universities to consider race when admitting new students.

Affirmative action in California’s public agencies has been banned for 16 years.

In Proposition 209, voters decided that race shouldn’t be a deciding factor.  The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Prop 209 in 1997, and the California Supreme Court has upheld it twice.

But the issue is back in front of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court for several reasons.  Civil rights advocates who want the ban overturned point to a pair of cases:  A 2003 U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowed law schools to consider race in admissions, and a 2011 federal appeals court ruling overturned Michigan’s ban on considering race in higher education.  California’s Democratic governor, Jerry Brown, supports the effort to overturn Prop 209; during the last legal battle, the state’s Republican governor, Pete Wilson, supported the ban.

Read the full story on CNN's Schools of thought blog

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Filed under: Education • Race • Who we are
February 17th, 2012
07:00 AM ET

Opinion: Why the environment is a Latino issue

Editor's note: Maria Cardona is a Democratic strategist, a principal at the Dewey Square Group, a former senior adviser to Hillary Clinton and former communications director for the Democratic National Committee.

By Maria Cardona, CNN Contributor

(CNN) - Amid all the jockeying of the primary debates, President Barack Obama's 2013 budget was a breath of fresh air that underscored the priorities we should have as a nation. Sure, politicos may call it a campaign document, but even if you view it as only that, it is a much needed reminder of just what we should be focusing on.

For Latinos, there is plenty in this budget, especially coming on the heels of the president's State of the Union speech a couple of weeks ago, to remind us that there is still reason to be hopeful. Obama's call for greater income equality on taxes, his focus on job creation, including focusing on key elements of his American Jobs Act (supported by 78% of Latinos), his renewed call for DREAM Act legislation in the State of the Union, and yes, his commitment to environmental and public health protections, as well as for the expansion of a clean energy economy.

While not a "typical" Latino statement, the plan to create more clean energy jobs and more responsible energy development is just what the doctor ordered, as far as they are concerned. Although it is down in the latest jobs numbers, Latino unemployment continues to hover near 11%, and with many of the Latino community's job losses stemming from the slowdown in the housing market, they need this boost now.

Read Maria Cardona's full column