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SCOTUS Upholds Same Sex Marriage

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States changed the way Americans view marriage. In a 5-4 decision, the Court held that the 14th Amendment requires states to permit same sex marriages within their boundaries, and recognize the marriages of same sex citizens from other states.

The Majority

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority of the justices (himself, and Justices Kagan, Sotomayor, Ginsburg, and Beyer) and began his opinion by noting how ancient and honored marriage is in our culture. It is also, Justice Kennedy noted, an institution of both continuity and of change. Therefore, with our modern understanding of family and civil rights, the conclusion must be reached that the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the 14th Amendment require all states to recognize same sex marriage.

Michael Brown's family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Ferguson and the former officer that shot and killed the teen in August 2014. The civil lawsuit, asking for $75,000 in compensation as well as punitive damages was filed in St. Louis County on Thursday.

The full text of the complaint is below, and there are a few aspects of the suit that are worth highlighting:

Both Indiana and now Arkansas are the center of a nationwide debate about Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRAs). Critics of the recently passed legislation say the laws will allow businesses to refuse service to gay, lesbian, and transgender customers under the protection of religious freedom.

Indiana's Gov. Mike Pence signed that state's RFRA into law last week, and the Arkansas State House passed their own version yesterday. With all of the controversy surrounding the laws, let's take a look at the actual text of each, and see how they compare to each other, and federal religious freedom legislation.

Ellen Pao Loses Gender Discrimination Suit on 3 of 4 Counts

The verdict is in on the Ellen Pao discrimination case. Sort of. Earlier this afternoon, a San Francisco jury returned verdicts in favor of defendant Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers on three of four counts.

On the fourth count, the jury failed to reach the required nine votes out of 12, but the judge sent them back to deliberate further.

The Wikimedia Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit alleging the government agency's mass data collection violated the Constitution.

Wikipedia's parent company is heading a lawsuit against the National Security Agency (NSA) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), among others, and contends the online encyclopedia was specifically targeted for surveillance.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are also plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The Department of Justice issued two reports Wednesday: one finding that police in Ferguson, Missouri, engaged in a pattern of conduct that routinely violated residents' civil rights, and another detailing the fatal police shooting of Ferguson resident Michael Brown.

Citing the results of the Michael Brown investigation, the DOJ declined to file federal civil rights charges against former Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Brown after an altercation in August.

Attorney General Eric Holder said the investigations revealed "a community that was deeply polarized, and where deep distrust and hostility often characterized interactions between police and area residents."

Harvard, MIT Sued Over Lack of Captioning for Online Courses

The National Association of the Deaf filed two federal class actions complaints today. The suits -- against Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) -- allege that the universities discriminate against the deaf because their online content is not captioned, or is poorly or illegibly captioned.

This lack of captioning, according to the plaintiffs, deprives the 48 million deaf or hard-of-hearing Americans of the same educational opportunities as those who can hear. It also violates federal law, the lawsuits assert.

Ferguson Grand Juror Sues Over 'Lifetime Gag Order'

A member of the grand jury that declined to press charges against former Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown has filed a lawsuit against St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch.

The anonymous juror, known only as "Grand Juror Doe," is seeking the right to speak publicly about what went on during the grand jury's investigation, reports The Huffington Post.

According to the lawsuit, the evidence presented to the grand jury was done in a way that was "muddled and untimely" and "differed markedly and in significant ways" from how evidence was presented to the grand jury in previous cases.

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued an order allowing gay marriage to begin in Kansas, despite attempts to appeal the issue in federal court.

In a one-page order released Wednesday, the High Court noted the emergency stay that was granted by Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Monday was now lifted, meaning the state can no longer continue to enforce its prohibition on same-sex marriage. The initial halt on gay marriage in Kansas came after federal Judge Daniel Crabtree last Wednesday found the state's ban to be unconstitutional.

Now, only a week after Crabtree's ruling, the Supreme Court's terse order has allowed gay marriages to begin. What else does this brief Supreme Court order tell us?

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld gay marriage bans in the four states in its jurisdiction: Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee.

In a 2-1 decision, the three-judge panel decided that these bans did not violate the constitutional rights of same-sex couples in those states, becoming the sole circuit court to uphold prohibitions on gay marriage. The sole dissenter, Judge Martha Daughtrey, called the majority decision "a largely irrelevant discourse on democracy and federalism" that avoided the real constitutional question.

This ruling is certainly not the end of the gay marriage issue in these states, as the issue may soon be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court.