May 30th, 2012
09:05 PM ET

California Senate moves to ban gay-to-straight therapy for kids

By Nicole File and Tom Watkins, CNN

(CNN) - The California Senate passed Wednesday a bill that would regulate therapies that purport to be able to change a child's sexual orientation - from gay to straight.

"The entire medical community is opposed to these phony therapies," Sen. Ted W. Lieu, D-Torrance, said after passage of Senate Bill 1172, which he introduced.

SB 1172 would prohibit children younger than 18 from undergoing sexual orientation change efforts.

"Being lesbian or gay or bisexual is not a disease or mental disorder for the same reason that being a heterosexual is not a disease or a mental disorder," Lieu said in a news release. "The medical community is unanimous in stating that homosexuality is not a medical condition."

The bill is expected to go to the Assembly for an initial policy review next month.

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May 30th, 2012
03:18 PM ET

'Sleeping giant' Latino vote yet to awaken

By Dave Schechter, CNN Senior National Editor

Editor's note: As President Barack Obama and GOP candidate Mitt Romney court the Latino vote, CNN takes an in-depth look at this complex and diverse community, what matters most to Latino voters, and how their vote will influence the November elections.

Washington (CNN) - The first Latino president of the United States already has been born.

Henry Cisneros, the former San Antonio mayor who was secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Clinton administration, made the suggestion three years ago in an interview with the Spanish-language news service EFE.

"I don't know if he or she's in elementary school or in law school or is already elected ... to public office, but I believe that that person is already alive, and we're 20 years or less away from having a Latino or Latina president," said Cisneros, whose own path to higher office may have been derailed by personal scandal and who today is executive chairman of CityView, an urban development investment firm.

When the day comes that Cisneros predicted, the man or woman behind the resolute desk in the Oval Office will represent an ever-increasing segment of the population. Latinos (or Hispanics, the official government term) made up 15.5% of the U.S. population in 2010, but by 2050 they're projected to approach 25% of the population.

The American, the online magazine of the American Enterprise Institute, calls the Hispanic electorate a "sleeping giant" yet to wake.

Whether or not Latinos' percentage in the electorate has kept pace with their growth in the population - and the data indicates that at present it has not - it may one day be enough to sway elections from the statehouse to the White House and stops in between.

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Opinion: Trayvon Martin shooting wasn't a case of racial profiling
George Zimmerman walks into court for a recent appearance.
May 30th, 2012
12:39 PM ET

Opinion: Trayvon Martin shooting wasn't a case of racial profiling

Editor's note: Mark NeJame is a CNN legal analyst and contributor and has practiced law, mainly as a criminal defense attorney, for more than 30 years. He is the founder and senior partner of NeJame, LaFay, Jancha, Ahmed, Barker and Joshi, P.A., in Orlando. Follow him on Twitter: @marknejame

By Mark NeJame, CNN Contributor

(CNN) - Ever since the Trayvon Martin case came to national attention, George Zimmerman has been described by some as having racially profiled the 17-year-old before he was shot and killed.

There's a difference of opinion about whether racial profiling was actually involved, but a key question that is often overlooked is the distinction between profiling by a citizen and profiling by a member of law enforcement. That distinction is likely to be crucial in determining the direction the case may go.

As a criminal defense attorney for more than 30 years, I can't even begin to recall how many cases my firm has handled that involved challenging law enforcement officers for the practice of stopping or searching an individual based on what is typically referred to as racial profiling.

Essentially, racial profiling occurs when race, national origin or ethnicity is the primary or sole consideration used by an officer of the law when intervening in a law enforcement capacity. Racial profiling is a form of discrimination that is not only despicable, but also is an illegal and improper basis for any police officer to stop, search, arrest or investigate another person.

The issue of racial profiling has been bandied about often in discussions of Martin's shooting. As with many things concerning the case, much misinformation has circulated.

Zimmerman was not a law enforcement agent. He was a civilian, operating under different legal standards than those applied to the police. Merely because he was a neighborhood watch captain does not attach law enforcement status to him.

Read Mark NeJame's full commentary

May 30th, 2012
09:20 AM ET

Tennessee mosque's fate again up in the air

By Lateef Mungin and Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) –The long-running battle between a Tennessee Muslim community and its critics over a new mosque took a dramatic turn with a county judge's ruling that could bring construction to a halt.

"Everyone is really shocked, many people are crying about this," Imam Osama Bahloul, leader of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, said early Wednesday.

"We did exactly what other churches in the county did," he said. "We followed the same process that other churches did. Why did this happen? Some people feel like it is discrimination."

The judge, Chancellor Robert Corlew, ruled Tuesday that plans for the new mosque that had previously been approved by a local planning commission were now "void and of no effect."

He said the planning commission violated state law by not providing proper public notice. The ruling throws the date of the mosque's completion, scheduled for July, up in the air.

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