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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

  • North Carolina Voters Approve Constitutional Amendment Banning Same-Sex Marriage, Civil Unions

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    North Carolina voters have turned out in large numbers to pass a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as solely between a man and a woman. While North Carolina law already bans same-sex marriage, the amendment means civil unions and potentially other types of domestic partnerships will no longer be recognized legally by the state. Some lawyers say the measure is vaguely worded and could impact the state’s 150,000 straight couples who live together but are unmarried. Others warn it may invalidate domestic violence protections, undercut child custody arrangements and jeopardize hospital visiting rights. "If we look at the people who sponsored this amendment, we see they have a track record not of unity, but of division," says William Robinson of the Coalition to Protect All North Carolina Families. [includes rush transcript]

  • From Coal to Foreclosures, Bank of America Faces Protest at Shareholders’ Meeting in Charlotte

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    Occupy Wall Street protesters, environmental activists, and struggling homeowners are converging in Charlotte today for a protest outside Bank of America’s annual shareholder meeting. The protesters are calling attention to the bank’s involvement in the financial crisis, its support for the coal industry, and its long record of alleged foreclosure abuses. The rally marks a test run for activism targeting September’s Democratic National Convention, which will be held in Charlotte. The city recently enacted broad police powers to stop and search anyone carrying a backpack, purse or briefcase with the intent to conceal anything on a long list of prohibited items, ranging from weapons to markers to bicycle helmets. "Folks are coming to Charlotte in order to stand their ground against the predatory practices of Bank of America," says Rachel LaForest of the Right to the City Alliance, a national coalition of community groups that is bringing roughly 175 residents to Charlotte who have been evicted by Bank of America. "We’re coming to their shareholders’ meeting in order to stand before their key shareholders and to say, ’This is what your practices have done to our lives. And we are entering into this space now to become decision makers and ensure that this is something that stops." We’re also joined by Rebecca Tarbotton, executive director of Rainforest Action Network, which is calling on Bank of America, the largest financier of the coal industry, to transition its investments out of coal and toward energy efficiency and renewable energy. "Bank of the America is the lead financier of coal in the country. ... Coal-fired power plants, for instance, are the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, which is the cause of climate change and climate chaos. So we’re here very specifically to say to Bank of America, 'Look, you need to get out of coal, if you're serious about ... this country transitioning out of fossil fuels and into renewable energy." [includes rush transcript]

  • Wisconsin Democrats Select Recall Challenger to Take On Gov. Scott Walker’s "Ideological Civil War"

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    Wisconsin Democratic primary voters have picked Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett to face controversial Republican Gov. Scott Walker in a recall election. Protests erupted across Wisconsin last year after Walker announced plans to eliminate almost all collective bargaining rights for most public workers, as well as slash their pay and benefits. Walker and Barrett will now square off in a recall election on June 5. We go to Madison to speak with Matthew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive magazine. Rothschild notes Walker’s bid to remain in office has been aided by massive contributions from rich donors nationwide. "Walker is the darling of the vicious business class in America. He’s a hero to every boss who wants to put [a] boot on the throat of labor," Rothschild says. "And these people ... have just been opening their wallets." [includes rush transcript]

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