States boost same-sex marriage fight
WA Gov. signed same-sex marriage into law on the same day the NJ Senate passed a bill recognizing it. NJ's bill was vetoed.
February 21st, 2012
04:59 PM ET

States boost same-sex marriage fight

By Michael Pearson, CNN

(CNN) - More than two decades ago, when the issue of same-sex marriage first broke into the national consciousness, a gay couple couldn't dream of getting married.

A decade ago, no state would allow it, and more than two-thirds of Americans opposed it, according to national polls.

Now, some 12% of Americans live in states that allow, or soon will allow, gay marriage. And polling, supporters say, suggest approval for same-sex marriage is on a quickening upward trend.

So is the debate over same-sex marriage finally nearing an end game?

With ballot fights in four or five states this year and court battles in a dozen states, supporters of gay marriage are hardly ready to declare victory.

But, they say, it's now it seems only a matter of time.


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Filed under: Family • Politics • Sexual orientation
Step in the right direction, but not far enough, says female veteran
Navy veteran Lani Hay says women should get credit for the de-facto combat roles they play in today's conflicts.
February 21st, 2012
03:32 PM ET

Step in the right direction, but not far enough, says female veteran

By Stephanie Siek, CNN

(CNN) – Lani Hay was just a kid when she decided on her career goal: to join the Navy, serve her country, and become a flying ace with the Navy's Blue Angels. The child of Vietnamese immigrants, Hay made it all the way to the U.S. Naval Academy before learning that a career as a Blue Angels pilot would be impossible: flying in the troupe was considered a combat role, and as a woman in the mid-1990s, she was barred from participating.

What kept her out was a policy called combat exclusion, which forbid women from being part of units that could be exposed to the dangers of the front line – direct combat, hostile fire, or capture. But the reality in conflicts such as Iraq and Afghanistan is that the front line is not a defined field, and women can be thrown into what is essentially a combat role at any time or place.

Hay, a veteran of intelligence and reconnaissance operations in the Persian Gulf and Kosovo, said it's time for women to get the credit they deserve for serving in what amount to combat conditions.

"To get around the Combat Exclusion Policy as written, women are being 'attached to' and not 'assigned to' battalions, as intelligence officers and communications officers for example, but they are not getting the credit for being in combat arms," said Hay. "Not allowing women the opportunity to 'get credit' for their combat experience and contributions to front-line battalions ultimately denies them choice assignments, which hinders career advancement."


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Filed under: Gender • Who we are • Women
February 21st, 2012
02:20 PM ET

Opinion: Does 'secure the border' mean 'keep America white'?

Editor's note: LZ Granderson, who writes a weekly column for CNN.com, was named journalist of the year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and a 2011 Online Journalism Award finalist. He is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com and the 2009 winner of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation award for online journalism. Watch him on Tuesdays on CNN Newsroom, 9 am ET hour.

By LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor

Grand Rapids, Michigan (CNN) - In case you plan to see Wednesday's GOP debate, allow me to offer up some crib notes so you don't get lost.

First, when you hear the candidates talk about "job creators," that's just another way of saying "rich people" or "the guy bankrolling my super Pac."

When someone says "family values," that's to remind the audience that they don't like gay people; "religious freedom" means "Christianity"; and it's not really a GOP debate until a candidate attacks the "liberal media" for asking questions they're too afraid to answer.

Now there will be plenty of other buzz words and euphemisms that will be tossed around during the debate, but since it is being held in Arizona, chances are the most popular phrase will be "secure the border."

We must secure the border.

Read LZ Granderson's full column

Engage: 'Diddy,' Magic, and Robert Rodriguez to head new Comcast networks
Earvin “Magic” Johnson will launch "Aspire," a 24-hour network that will focus on "positive" images of African-Americans.
February 21st, 2012
01:07 PM ET

Engage: 'Diddy,' Magic, and Robert Rodriguez to head new Comcast networks

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

Sean 'Diddy' Combs, Magic Johnson, and Robert Rodriguez to head Comcast networks launched as part of FCC diversity agreement  - Reuters  (Press Release)

Undocumented immigrants tentatively return to Alabama as immigration law appeal hearing looms - USA Today

Opinion: Jeremy Lin redefines image of Asian-Americans - The Los Angeles Times

Analysis: Higher crime on tribal lands, but fewer investigations, prosecutions - The New York Times 

Photos: Malcolm X shot dead in Harlem 47 years ago - ABC News

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Filed under: Engage
High court accepts case over use of race in college admissions
The Supreme Court has agreed to take up a case on the University of Texas' race-conscious admission policies.
February 21st, 2012
11:43 AM ET

High court accepts case over use of race in college admissions

By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer

Washington (CNN) - The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to tackle another election-year blockbuster and will decide whether the University Texas' race-conscious admission policies violate the rights of white applicants.

If healthcare reform, illegal immigration crackdowns, voting rights, and TV indecency were not enough - now the nine-member bench is poised to add to its high-profile docket, and it will wade into the divisive, sea-change issue of state-mandated racial diversity and affirmative action. Oral arguments would be held this fall, ensuring the court - however it decides the appeal - will be a major campaign issue.

Read the full story

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Filed under: Education • Race • Who we are
February 21st, 2012
10:00 AM ET

Opinion: With Jeremy Lin and Asian Americans, what is offensive?

Editors note: Ren Hsieh is the Executive Director of The Dynasty Project dedicated to promoting athletics in APIA communities and empowering APIA athletes. He is also Content Director of Fastbreak NYC and a staff blogger for our OurChinatown.org.

By Ren Hsieh, Special to CNN

(CNN) –As Jeremy Lin might be able to attest, being an Asian American athlete has never been easy.

You tend to get taunted, overlooked and worst of all, dismissed no matter what you seem to accomplish.

What has been interesting to me as an Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) athlete during Jeremy Lin’s unbelievable run is that our role as APIA athletes, known previously only to us, is being played out now on a national scale.

The recent and now infamous “Chink in the Armor” headline from ESPN pretty much sums it up. I do not believe those responsible for the headline are racists. Somehow, they just didn’t understand how it could be offensive to Asian Americans.

This begs the question for mainstream America. What is offensive?

Ex-ESPN writer says slur was 'honest mistake'


Viral video combats negative Latino stereotypes
Something a Latino would never say, according to the video: "Guadalupe? I thought that's what you dipped chips in."
February 21st, 2012
07:00 AM ET

Viral video combats negative Latino stereotypes

By Emanuella Grinberg, CNN

(CNN) - When's the last time you met a Latino who hated grandma's cooking or didn't know who Marc Anthony was?

There are just some things you don’t expect to hear from Latinos, according to the creators of “Sh*t Latinos Don’t Say,” the latest in a long line of online video memes to tackle widely held stereotypes.

Sure, it’s yet another take on a trend that’s nearly played out, but with a tongue-in-cheek twist. Other versions– running the gamut from New Yorkers to medical students to things Latinos do say– worked when they got viewers to acknowledge, “that’s so me.”

But it turns out the things we’re not likely to say also say a lot about us. Like its predecessors, “Sh*t Latinos Don’t Say” appropriates shared beliefs, biases and experiences but reverses them, prompting collective responses of disbelief, because who ever met a Latino who complained about spicy food?