North Carolina Bans Gay Marriage; Obama, Travolta disappointed
North Carolina voters have passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, CNN projects, putting a ban that already existed in state law into the state’s charter. With more than 1.5 million votes counted from Tuesday’s referendum, supporters of the ban led opponents by a margin of 61% to 39%, according to figures from the State Board of Elections. Its backers prepared to celebrate by serving wedding cake to their supporters in a Raleigh ballroom. Tami Fitzgerald, the head of Vote for Marriage NC, said she had been confident that “the people of North Carolina would rise up and vote to keep the opposition from redefining traditional marriage.
President Barack Obama said in an interview with ABC that “it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.” With his Wednesday announcement, the president reversed his longstanding position on the issue. It came on the heels of his own vice president and education secretary saying they were in favor of gay marriage. According to an ABC blog post, Obama further described his thought process as an “evolution” that progressed as he discussed the issue with staff members, gay and lesbian service members and his own family. He said he thinks Americans are growing increasingly comfortable with the concept of gay marriage and cited his own daughters’ views on the matter.
The U.S. Postal Service is backing off a previous plan to close thousands of post offices, and will instead cut hours at 13,000 rural facilities in an effort to save $500 million a year. In response to a backlash against massive closures, the Postal Service said Wednesday it will cut hours at the targeted post offices, which would remain open between two hours and six hours a day. In addition, thousands of employees will be impacted when jobs shift from full-time to part-time positions.
A California judge ordered Wednesday that two Fullerton police officers stand trial in the beating death last year of Kelly Thomas, a homeless man with a mental illness. Officer Manuel Ramos is charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, and Cpl. Jay Patrick Cicinelli is charged with involuntary manslaughter and felony use of excessive force. Orange County Superior Court Judge Walter Schwarm scheduled the next hearing in the case on May 22.
An attorney for Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach charged last year with more than 50 counts involving sexual acts with minors, asked Wednesday for his client’s June 5 trial to be delayed. Lawyer Joe Amendola filed a motion saying that without a postponement he “will be unable to effectively and adequately” represent the former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator, saying he needs more time to prepare and has not yet received all pertinent information about the case. The request comes one month ahead of jury selection. Amendola has made similar motions in the past.
A federal lawsuit accusing John Travolta of assault and sexual battery on two massage therapists includes lurid details of one of the alleged incidents. Travolta’s lawyer soundly rejected the claims of both plaintiffs and called the claims of the first plaintiff “complete fiction.” In the first incident, Travolta allegedly groped a male massage therapist repeatedly and finally masturbated himself during the two-hour session in a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel on January 16, 2012, according to court documents filed last Friday. The first plaintiff, a Texas native who is unidentified in the court documents, “suffered severe emotional distress,” the lawsuit claims. The lawsuit is asking for $2 million in damages.
The Andy Warhol classic painting “Double Elvis (Ferus Type)” sold Wednesday at Sotheby’s in New York for more than $37 million, the auction house said. With commission, the sale price of $33 million totaled $37,042,500, short of the $50 million that Sotheby’s had predicted it might fetch. The piece (silkscreen ink and spray paint on canvas) shows Elvis Presley in a gunslinger pose. Warhol made 22 versions of the “Double Elvis,” nine of which are held in museums.
In a bad day for New York sports, the Knicks were eliminated from the playoffs, the Rangers blew an opportunity to put themselves in the Eastern Conference Finals, and the Yankees blew a save while adjusting to life post-Mariano Rivera. However, possibly the worst news is that the Mets won, sweeping the Phillies, and providing false hopes for their fans, providing the foundation needed to crush their souls later on in the season.