Thursday, April 10th, 2014
A baby born in Tennessee last week made history when, for the first time, her state birth certificate listed women in both the “mother” and “father” categories. Reuters has more on the same-sex couple who fought in court for the milestone:
The marital status of the baby’s parents was the subject of a flurry of court filings up to a few days before her birth. Valeria Tanco and Sophy Jesty were wed in New York, a state that recognizes gay marriage, and moved to Tennessee, which does not.
They are among scores of same-sex couples who, working with advocacy groups, have filed lawsuits to expand gay-marriage rights following a major U.S. Supreme Court decision last June allowing federal tax and other benefits for same-sex married couples.
Depending on the pace of rulings, as early as next year Tanco and Jesty’s case or a similar challenge could reach the Supreme Court. Since the court’s June decision in U.S. v. Windsor, about 50 such cases have been filed, in nearly all 33 states that prohibit gay marriage.
So far, the eight federal judges who have ruled citing Windsor have sided with the same-sex couples, saying the states may not treat same-sex couples differently from opposite-sex ones. All of those cases are on appeal.
On Thursday, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will begin hearing cases involving Utah and Oklahoma. In May, the 4th Circuit will hear a dispute from Virginia.
As Tanco approached her due date, a Nashville federal judge in mid-March issued a preliminary injunction forcing Tennessee to honor their marriage. The state appealed to the 6th Circuit.
It is possible a ruling against the couple could void Emilia’s birth certificate and require that it be reissued with only Tanco listed. A spokeswoman for Tennessee Attorney General Robert Cooper declined to comment, as did a spokesman for the state Health Department, which oversees birth certificates.
But for now, says Jesty, “It gives me strength.”
Image: Women holding hands, via Shutterstcok
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Friday, November 8th, 2013
Some parents who are unhappy with a Tennessee high school’s lunchtime program that separates students who are under-performing academically so they can receive additional instruction while they eat, calling the program “segregation” that is unfairly punishing kids who struggle academically. School officials, however, insist that the program has nothing to do with civil rights, and everything to do with education. More from The Huffington Post:
According to local outlet WSMV-TV, La Vergne High School in Rutherford County has been requiring some of its students to attend academic intervention classes during lunchtime, in an effort to raise the grades of struggling students. The outlet reported that some parents are not pleased with the school for forcing certain students eat in a separate location.
“I call it a civil rights violation and segregation, no doubt,” local parent Paul Morecraft told WSMV.
However, Rutherford County School District spokesperson James Evans told The Huffington Post over the phone that La Vergne administrators decided to hold academic interventions during lunch so that the program would not cut into class time. He also disputes WSMV-TV’s assertion that the program forces some La Vergne students to eat separately from others in the cafeteria.
According to Evans, every student in the school is given 25 minutes for lunch. After that time, students who need extra help take another 25 minutes to study in a “learning lab.” Students who are in good academic standing have the option of staying in the cafeteria or participating in other enrichment activities for the extra 25 minutes.
“One misconception is that students are losing their lunchtime or being made to eat in some separate location,” Evans told HuffPost. “They’re still eating in the cafeteria for 25 minutes.”
Students who are scoring below an 80 percent in any subject are required to attend academic intervention.
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Image: School double doors, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, November 10th, 2011
A Nashville, Tennessee woman has caused a stir by offering for sale spit, cotton swabs, and lollipops that were licked by her chickenpox-infected children. The offer, which she posted on Facebook, was meant to help parents who wanted to expose their children to the varicella virus instead of giving them the vaccine against the chickenpox.
According to a report from NPR:
State health officials were horrified at the prospect, and pointed out that not only is the varicella vaccine much safer for children than getting the disease itself, but spreading the virus could pose a serious risk to children who can’t be vaccinated because they are undergoing cancer treatment or have other health problems.
Deaths caused by chickenpox have plummeted since the vaccine was introduced in 1995, according to a study published in July.
Before the vaccine was introduced, parents would sometimes expose their children to others who were sick with the disease, so the children would have a reduced risk of serious infection as adults. The idea has since been adopted by some parents leery of vaccines.
NPR reported that once the story caught the attention of health officials, the Facebook page now offers “pox parties” for local families only–no shipping of items allowed.
(image via: http://www.free-extras.com/)
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