By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer
Washington (CNN) - The Supreme Court sided on Tuesday with adoptive parents in a divisive custody fight over a Native American child after the biological father asserted his parental rights.
The justices, by a 5-4 margin, said the adoption by a white couple was proper and did not intrude on the federal rights of the father, a registered member of the Cherokee tribe, over where his daughter, Veronica, 3, would live.
The court said the father could not rely on the Indian Child Welfare Act for relief because he never had legal or physical custody at the time of adoption proceedings, which were initiated by the birth mother without his knowledge.
Justice Samuel Alito said when "the adoption of an Indian child is voluntarily and lawfully initiated by a non-Indian parent with sole custodial rights, the (law's) primary goal of preventing unwarranted removal of Indian children and the dissolution of Indian families is not implicated."
Editor's note: June 12 is the 46th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, which made interracial marriage legal in the United States. Thousands of people nationwide celebrate that anniversary as “Loving Day'. Ken Tanabe is the founder and president of Loving Day, an international, annual celebration that aims to build multicultural community and fight racial prejudice through education. He is a speaker on multiracial identity, community organizing and social change through design.
By Ken Tanabe, Special to CNN
(CNN) - Racism is alive and well in 2013, and what’s striking is the recent notable examples aimed at interracial couples - or one of their children.
Even breakfast cereal commercials aren’t safe. A recent Cheerios ad depicting an interracial couple and their multiracial child got so many racist remarks on YouTube that the company had to disable the comments.
There is nothing out of the ordinary about the commercial, except that the parents happen to be an interracial couple.
But the truth is, racially blended families are becoming more ordinary every day, due to the 1967 Supreme Court decision that declared all laws against interracial marriage unconstitutional.
Opinion: Two different marriage bans, both wrong
Today is the 46th anniversary of that decision, and one in seven new marriages in the United States is interracial or interethnic. Multiracial Americans are the fastest-growing youth demographic.
Number of interracial couples in U.S. reaches all-time high
While the negative comments about the Cheerios commercial made it newsworthy, there were also many others who showed their support for the Cheerios brand.
Multiracial Americans of Southern California, a multiethnic community group, started a Facebook album for people to post photos of themselves holding a box of Cheerios. And in articles and in social media, supporters expressed gratitude to General Mills for depicting a multiracial family.
The weddings of two multiracial couples from high-profile families also prompted racist comments online. Lindsay Marie Boehner, daughter of House Speaker John Boehner, married Dominic Lakhan, a black Jamaican man. And Jack McCain, son of Sen. John McCain, married Renee Swift, a woman of color.
The reaction to these marriages is reminiscent of the response to the marriage of Peggy Rusk – the daughter of then-Secretary of State Dean Rusk – and Guy Smith, a black man. In 1967, their interracial marriage was a cover story, several months after laws against interracial marriage were struck down.
Things have changed since then, but not enough.
In a 2011 Gallup poll, 86% of Americans approved of “marriage between blacks and whites.” In 1958, the approval rating was 4%. But it makes me wonder: What do the other 14% of Americans think? Apparently, many of them spend a lot of time leaving comments online.
The election of Barack Obama inspired many of us to hope that widespread racism was a relic of the past.
And while he was elected to a second term, we must not be complacent when it comes to racism in our daily lives. We must seek out opportunities to educate others about the history of our civil rights.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wished that his children would “one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” I wonder what he would think of our collective progress as the 50th anniversary of his "I Have a Dream" speech approaches.
On June 15, the 10th annual Loving Day Flagship Celebration in New York City will draw an expected 1,500 guests. And while many participants are multiracial, anyone can host a Loving Day Celebration for friends and family, and make it a part of their annual traditions.
We need to work collectively to fight prejudice through education and build a strong sense of multiethnic community. If we do, one day we might live in a nation where the racial identities of politicians’ children's spouses are no longer national news, and cereal commercials are more about cereal than race.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Ken Tanabe.
By Annalyn Kurtz @AnnalynKurtz, CNNMoney
(CNNMoney) - Moms are the sole or primary breadwinner in four out of 10 households with children, a record high according to an analysis of U.S. Census data by the Pew Research Center.
But that doesn't mean Americans approve.
Pew researchers surveyed about 1,000 Americans last month and found that 51% believe children are better off when a mom stays home with the kids and doesn't hold a job. Only about 8% say the same about fathers.
Half also said the increase in the number of women working for pay has made it harder for marriages to succeed. On the other hand, two thirds said it has made it easier for families to live more comfortably.
Curiously, 79% rejected the idea that women should return to their "traditional roles."
(WUSA) - After 17 years, two long-lost sisters meet by accident at a high school track race.
By CNN Staff
(CNN) - Two bartenders have been arrested in connection with the killing of the grandson of civil rights activist Malcolm X, according to the office of the Mexico City attorney general.
Prosecutor Rodolfo Fernando Rios Garza said the men work at a bar called The Palace Club where Malcolm Shabazz and three friends had drinks early Thursday.
An argument ensued when the staff said the bill was $1,200. Shabazz was beaten while another man was threatened and stripped of his belongings, Rios said.
Shabazz, 29, was transported to Balbuena General Hospital, where he died of his injuries later Thursday morning, police spokesman Octavio Campos said Friday. The attorney general's office said his injuries included brain trauma and several broken bones.
The first rounds of arguments are over. The nine justices on the Supreme Court today heard about an hour and 20 minutes of debate around Proposition 8 – the measure that banned same-sex marriage in California.
And on Wednesday, the issue of the Defense of Marriage Act that defines marriage as between one man and one woman will be up before the highest court.
You can read and listen to Tuesday's arguments in full here and then see how court-watchers believe the justices appeared hesitant to issue any sweeping rulings.
So what do you think? Who has the right to say I do? And what do our laws say about who we are? Add your thoughts at CNN's iReport.
By Mariano Castillo, CNN
CNN) - Republican Sen. Rob Portman's flip-flop approval for same-sex marriage, is just the latest change of heart on the issue by conservatives.
Even Democrats like President Obama - have turned around after opposing it. This change in attitude is just one of many milestones for the movement.
Here are five of the most important turning points in the same-sex marriage debate:
1993: In a landmark case, Hawaii's Supreme Court ruled that the state can't deny same-sex couples the right to marry unless it finds "a compelling reason" to do so. It orders the issue back to the state legislature, which then voted to ban gay marriage. This was one of earliest debates on the issue at the state level, and was a precursor to the legal battles nationwide. Today, domestic partnerships and civil unions for same-sex couples are legal in Hawaii.
By Ed Payne and Ashley Fantz, CNN
(CNN) - A transgender rights group announced Wednesday that it has filed a discrimination complaint in Colorado on behalf of a first-grader who was born a boy but identifies as a girl.
The filing stems from a decision announced last December by officials at Fountain-Fort Carson School District that Coy Mathis could no longer use the girls' bathroom at Eagleside Elementary.
Mother Kathryn Mathis said she and her husband were shocked.
"We were very confused because everything was going so well, and they had been so accepting, and all of a sudden it changed and it was very confusing and very upsetting because we knew that, by doing that, she was going to go back to being unhappy," she told CNN. "It was going to set her up for a lot of bad things."
Coy was born with male sex organs but has identified as female since she could express herself, her mother said. The child had attended classes during her kindergarten year with no problems and no complaints from anyone at the school, Mathis told reporters at the Colorado Capitol in Denver, where she was flanked by her husband, Jeremy, and four other children.
By Isha Sesay and Teo Kermeliotis, CNN
(CNN) - When Peggielene Bartels went to bed on a summer night in 2008, she was an ordinary administrative assistant living in a modest one-bedroom condo just outside Washington D.C.
But a few hours later, when a persistent ringing phone woke her up in the dead of the August night, the 55-year-old found out she was much more than simply a secretary.
Read more: The Lady King of Otuam
At the other end of the line was Bartels's cousin, from Otuam, a small fishing village on the coast of Ghana. Excited and humble, he congratulated her on being the new king of Otuam.
"I said, 'listen, it's 4 o'clock in the morning in the U.S., I am very tired, let me sleep,'" remembers Bartels. "I thought he was trying to really play games with me."
But this was no time for games.
The previous king of Otuam, who was Bartels's uncle, had just died. The village elders, who remembered Bartels from the times she'd visited with her mother, had decided to anoint her as their new ruler.
By Ashley Fantz, CNN
(CNN) - It apparently takes more than a few good men, according to the U.S. Marine Corps. It takes all kinds of people to support military families, including same-sex spouses of service members.
CNN published a story this week about a woman married to a female lieutenant colonel at Fort Bragg who believes she was rejected from an officers' spouse club because she's gay. Late Wednesday, Maj. Gen. Vaughn Ary advised Marine Corps legal staff such clubs conducting business on its bases must admit same-same spouses. If they do not, the clubs will be barred from meeting on any Marine Corps installation.
Ary wrote that clubs cannot discriminate against any member because of "race, color, creed, sex, age, disability, or national origin. We would interpret a spouse's club's decision to exclude a same-sex spouse as sexual discrimination because the exclusion was based upon the spouse's sex."
Fort Bragg Garrison Commander Col. Jeffrey Sanborn, told CNN earlier this week that he could do nothing about Ashley Broadway's rejection by the Association of Bragg Officers' club because the group was private.
Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Eric Flanagan, who provided a portion of the memo to CNN, said, "We expect that all who are interested in supporting Marine Corps Family Readiness would be welcome to participate and will be treated with dignity and respect."
What defines you? Maybe it’s the shade of your skin, the place you grew up, the accent in your words, the make up of your family, the gender you were born with, the intimate relationships you chose to have or your generation? As the American identity changes we will be there to report it. In America is a venue for creative and timely sharing of news that explores who we are. Reach us at email@example.com.
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