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National anti-gay marriage group claims bias in Prop 8 hearing

The National Organization for Marriage released a statement regarding the federal appeals court hearing on California’s Proposition 8 yesterday, decrying the court panel as biased.

The anti-gay group is up-in-arms over the inclusion of Judge Stephen Reinhardt, whose wife works with the American Civil Liberties Union and has been involved in the case through her role at the ACLU. Reinhardt was one of three judges who sat on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals during yesterday's hearing.

"This hearing makes a mockery of the federal judiciary," said Brian Brown, president of NOM, in an internet posting. "Citizens are entitled to a guarantee of impartiality from their judiciary. Yet here we have the spectacle of a federal appeals court justice ruling on a case in which his wife represents a group that is a participant. A cynic would be left to wonder if the fix is in for marriage in the Ninth Circuit."

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Senate confirms Elena Kagan

The U.S. Senate today confirmed the appointment of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court, but not without complaints from nearly every Republican opposing her nomination about her actions concerning Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

The vote was 63 to 37, with only five Republicans voting for Kagan and one Democrat voting against.

The Senate’s newest Republican member, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, voted against Kagan.

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Prop 8 victory, but stayed

U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker ruled Wednesday that California’s ballot measure banning same-sex marriage violates the federal constitution’s guarantees to equal protection and due process of law. A few minutes after issuing the decision, Walker also issued a temporary stay of its impact and directed attorneys challenging the initiative to respond to request by August 6.

The 136-page decision, which has been much anticipated by both sides of the same-sex marriage debate, says supporters of Proposition 8 failed to establish any rational or legitimate reason for prohibiting same-sex couples from having marriage licenses.

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