y Staff, World News Magazine
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Right before Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor headed to New York’s Times Square to lead the official countdown to 2014 Jan. 31, she issued an emergency stay temporarily blocking the contraceptive mandate for a number of Catholic organizations in Colorado.
Sotomayor handles emergency applications from the 10th Circuit, which includes a number of Western states.
On Dec. 30, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had denied an injunction to Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged, Christian Brothers Services, and Christian Brothers Employee Benefits Trust.
The lawsuit was filed as a class action on behalf of a number of Catholic organizations.
Legal Pot Sales Start in Colorado
DENVER, Colo. – As of New Year’s Day, anyone 21 or older with a valid photo ID can buy marijuana in Colorado.
At 8 a.m. on Jan. 1 a handful of businesses licensed to sell recreational marijuana opened their doors, making Colorado the first state in the nation to legalize the cultivation, possession, sale, and use of a substance still considered illegal by the federal government.
Shops in 19 cities and seven counties began selling marijuana for smoking, as well as cannabis-infused products like cookies, candy, and carbonated beverages.
Colorado residents can purchase an ounce of pot – almost enough to fill a small Ziploc baggie – that can cost up to $200 depending on the source plant.
Out-of-state residents can buy a quarter of an ounce. All sales will include an additional 25 percent tax approved by voters last month.
Colorado citizens voted to legalize recreational marijuana by a constitutional amendment in November 2012.
The law immediately allowed the private use and cultivation of a limited amount of pot, but the legalization of marijuana sales was delayed until Jan. 1, 2014, to give the state time to create an infrastructure to regulate the new retail industry.
Since Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division began accepting applications in October, the state has approved 348 marijuana business licenses for retail shops, pot growers, and manufacturers of cannabis-infused products.
Colorado law allows counties and cities to vote to ban recreational marijuana sales within their jurisdiction, and many have, including Colorado Springs and Greeley. Other cities and counties have passed moratoriums on marijuana sales until later in 2014, giving them a chance to watch the social and economic impact of sales in other cities.
Hundreds of Holiday Gay Marriages in Utah
SALT LAKE CITY – In Utah, where a federal judge earlier this month overturned a state ban on same-sex marriage, many homosexual couples celebrated the Christmas season by tying the knot.
Most gay and lesbian marriages took place in Salt Lake County, Utah’s most populous county. On Dec. 23, the first business day following the court ruling, Salt Lake County issued 353 marriage licenses, breaking the previous single-day record of 85.
U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby, an appointee of President Barack Obama, ruled Dec. 20 that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage – enacted by two statutes and an amendment to the Utah Constitution – was discriminatory.
“The court holds that Utah’s prohibition on same-sex marriage conflicts with the United States Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process under the law. The state’s current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason,” Shelby wrote.
The state of Utah is seeking to have Shelby’s decision overturned. Late lLast week, state officials said they planned to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to pause the issuing of Utah marriage licenses while the case is appealed.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 6 put same-sex marriages in Utah on hold, granting the state’s request for a stay while it appeals a ruling that laws banning such marriages are unconstitutional.
The court said the stay would be in place until the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver makes a decision on Utah’s appeal.
Although the Supreme Court earlier this year ruled on California’s now-defunct same-sex marriage ban, Proposition 8, the court only ruled on a jurisdictional question and has not yet said whether it considers same-sex marriage fundamentally constitutional.
“I am very disappointed an activist federal judge is attempting to override the will of the people of Utah,” said Gov. Gary Herbert following Shelby’s ruling. Herbert said he would work with state attorneys to “defend traditional marriage within the borders of Utah.”
ESPN Hires Tim Tebow
NEW YORK CITY – Tim Tebow is back in football – but he’ll be behind a mic instead of under center.
The former pro and college quarterback will be an analyst for the SEC Network, a new collaboration between ESPN and the Southeastern Conference that launches next August.
“Tim is an SEC icon with a national fan base and broad appeal,” said Justin Connolly, ESPN senior vice president of programming for its college networks. “Tim brings a wealth of knowledge about the game, the conference, and the passion among SEC fans.”
Tebow will appear on SEC Nation, the new network’s traveling pregame show that will make its way to a different SEC campus each week next fall.
The former homeschooled high school athlete expressed excitement in landing this new job.
“While I continue to pursue my dream of playing quarterback in the NFL, this is an amazing opportunity to be part of the unparalleled passion of college football and the SEC,” he said.
Tebow’s other passion is his faith, and the son of Baptist missionaries has not been shy in expressing his beliefs publicly, including appearing with his mother in a pro-life Super Bowl commercial sponsored by Focus on the Family in 2010. (When ill and pregnant with Tebow, his mother went against the advice of doctors to abort him.)
Tebow made his broadcast debut on ESPN’s lead-up coverage of the BCS National Championship game between Auburn and Florida State.
The former Heisman Trophy winner came within a point of predicting the final score of Monday’s thrilling BCS National Championship Game during his television debut for ESPN.
“Auburn might be a team of destiny, but tonight, Florida State is deeper from top to bottom,” Tebow said. “(With) Jameis Winston and Telvin Smith’s leadership in the fourth quarter, I think they win 35-31.”
Florida State won 34-31, thanks to a 2-yard Winston touchdown pass with 13 seconds left in the game.