They won the right to marry in Massachusetts… but Margaret Chambers and Cassandra Ormiston, who were married in 2004 in Massachusetts can’t get a divorce in Rhode Island, where they live. The Rhode Island Supreme Court ruled last year that the family court couldn’t grant a divorce to the couple because the state only recognizes marriage as between a man and a woman. Since the state does not recognize same-sex marriages, its courts can’t grant divorce to same-sex couples. On Thursday, Rhode Island Superior Court Judge Patricia A. Hurst dismissed Chambers’ claim for divorce, stating that the Superior Court no longer has the jurisdiction to grant divorces. She went on to point out the conundrum facing the courts in Rhode Island:

She noted Family Court can grant divorces to heterosexual couples, regardless of where their marriages were performed, as long the marriages were valid where they took place. She said Family Court regularly grants divorces to heterosexual Rhode Island residents who married in Massachusetts. And she said Family Court has the authority to deal with child custody, child support and visitation matters involving same-sex couples.

But in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, if a member of a same-sex couple “wishes to settle their property and other rights arising from the marital relationship, she must either move to another state or find one that has no residency requirement,”

Hurst and others question whether the Family Law Act that moved the hearing of divorce cases to Family Court is unconstitutional because it, by omission, denies the right to a legal remedy to same gender couples. The case is being closely watched by other jurisdictions across the country, who will very likely take their cue from what happens here.

Obama puts media on notice In an exclusive interview with Broadcasting & Cable’s John Eggerton, Barack Obama talked about the challenges facing the media in the upcoming years, and what he intends to back and encourage as President of the United States. Said Eggerton:

Obama believes the consequence of consolidation has been less diversity, less local news and the parroting of stories across multiple outlets. That, he said, needs to change.

In other words, the media is on notice: The potential new sheriff is in town, and he believes there’s plenty of cleaning up to do.

Some of Obama’s most quotable quotes (from emailed responses to questions from Eggerton):

The FCC should more seriously evaluate the impact of proposed mergers on the ability of divergent communities to participate in the national media environment.

The Internet is a powerful, democratizing tool. There are very low entry barriers for the delivery of services over the Internet, and public debate is unfettered by either the network owner or any single dominant voice. The neutral nature of the Internet makes that possible, and it is something we should defend.

I strongly believe that all citizens should be able to receive information from the broadest range of sources.

And common sense tells us that the consolidation of outlets in local markets will lead to fewer opportunities for diverse expression of opinions.

I am focused on ensuring that parents have the tools to protect their kids from offensive material. I prefer technological solutions to this challenge rather than extending content regulation to cable and satellite.

These issues go beyond simple economics to involve a set of core principles of an informed and empowered citizenry

Wired That Way? A new study reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows similarities between the brains of gay men and straight women, as well as similarities between the brains of straight men and lesbians. The study involved 90 people, 50 of them heterosexual and 40 of them homosexual, and was conducted by researchers at the Stockholm Brain Institute in Sweden.
The men and women participating in the study underwent an MRI to map brain function. Fifty of the ninety also were given PET scans to study the amygdalae. The results: in straight men and gay women, the right hand hemisphere of the brain is larger than the left. In straight women and gay men, the two hemispheres are symmetrical. The same correlations were found in the PET scans, with similarities between gay men and straight women, and between straight men and lesbians.
Researchers stated that it is impossible to tell what causes those differences and similarities. That, they say, is an area that calls for more study.

“These observations motivate more extensive investigations of larger study groups and prompt for a better understanding of the neurobiology of homosexuality,” they wrote.

And quite frankly, I’m not at all comfortable with the idea that the group plans a further study with newborns to “see if it can help predict future sexual orientation”. Even granting the best of intentions, I have nightmare images of attempts to “correct the abnormality”, and of children abandoned by parents who don’t want to raise a gay child to adulthood.

Honda Zeros In On Target The Daily Green asks “When better to unveil a new fuel-cell vehicle than when oil hits another record in futures trading? That’s what Honda did today, trotting out their new FCX Clarity, a zero emissions hydrogen fuel cell car. Unfortunately, they won’t be available for public consumption anytime real soon – Honda estimates that it will be 2018 before the company scales up to full production. They do plan to cell about 200 Clarity’s in the next three years – but the biggest issue will be fueling up the new fuel cell cars. The first five cars in the Clarity line will go out to five people who live close to some of the few hydrogen fuel stations in the country.

Quotable“Auto companies can’t explore the potential for fuel cell technology as the ultimate solution to our world’s energy and environmental challenges by ourselves,” said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda. “Our customers are true pioneers and leaders in the effort to bring fuel cell technology to the marketplace.”


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