October 18th, 2012
04:06 PM ET

Opinion: No doubt, women should moderate more debates

Editor's note: Carole Simpson is the leader-in-residence at Emerson College’s School of Communication in Boston, where she teaches journalism and communications classes. She is the first woman or minority to be the sole moderator of a presidential debate and chronicled her 40 years as a broadcast journalist in her memoir, "Newslady."

By Carole Simpson, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Should there be any doubt now that women can handle presidential debates as well as men? That they can conduct a live television event that lasts for 90 minutes before an audience of 60 million viewers? That they can be smart, bold and professional in dealing with the men who would be president and vice president of this great nation?

No. There should be no doubt at all. CNN’s Candy Crowley and ABC’s Martha Raddatz have finally banished that old false notion that “men are better” to the grave it deserves.

Of course, after former PBS anchor Jim Lehrer lost control of the first presidential debate in Denver, Raddatz and Crowley were masterful in comparison. Lehrer, the journalist who was moderating his 12th presidential debate, at times threw up his hands in exasperation as President Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney ignored the guidelines on time limits for statements and rebuttals. The testy rivals wrested the debate away from Lehrer, and he was pretty much reduced to the role of a potted plant.


New York appeals court strikes down Defense of Marriage Act
A federal appeals court in New York on Thursday was the nation's second to deem the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.
October 18th, 2012
03:33 PM ET

New York appeals court strikes down Defense of Marriage Act

By David Ariosto, CNN

New York (CNN) - A federal appeals court in New York became the nation's second to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, finding that the Clinton-era law's denial of federal benefits to married same-sex couples is unconstitutional.

The divisive act, which was passed in 1996, bars federal recognition of such marriages and says other states cannot be forced to recognize them.

Read the ruling (PDF)

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined Thursday that the federal law violates the Constitution's equal protection clause, ruling in favor of a widow named Edith Windsor, an 83-year-old lesbian who sued the federal government for charging her more than $363,000

The case centered on the money Windsor wanted back, but raised the more looming question of whether the federal government can continue to ignore a state's recognition of her marriage and financially penalize her as a result.

"Homosexuals are not in a position to adequately protect themselves from the discriminatory wishes of the majoritarian public," wrote Dennis Jacobs, a conservative judge in New York.

A federal appeals court in Boston made a similar ruling in May, but the moves are considered largely symbolic as the issue is expected to eventually be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Read the full story