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Obergefell v. Hodges: US Supreme Court rules gay marriage is legal nationwide

The US Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriage is a legal right across the United States. It means the 14 states with bans on same-sex marriage will no longer be able to enforce them.

States affected:

Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, most of Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that the plaintiffs asked "for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right."

The ruling brings to an end more than a decade of bitter legal battles.

Same-sex couples in several affected states including Georgia, Michigan, Ohio and Texas rushed to wed on Friday.

However officials in other states, including Mississippi and Louisiana, said marriages had to wait until procedural issues were addressed.

President Barack Obama said the ruling was a "victory for America".

"When all Americans are treated as equal, we are all more free " he said.

However, Christian conservatives condemned the decision.

Former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee called it "an out-of-control act of unconstitutional, judicial tyranny".

And Kellie Fiedorek, a lawyer for an anti-gay marriage advocacy group, said the decision "ignored the voices of thousands of Americans".

Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, a state where marriages licences will now be issued to same-sex couples, said the justices "have imposed on the entire country their personal views on an issue that the Constitution and the Court's previous decisions reserve to the people of the states".

Loud cheers erupted outside the court after the ruling was announced, and there were tears, hugs, and cheers of "USA USA USA!".

A sea of rainbow flags overwhelmed the few anti-gay marriage activists who reacted in disbelief, and the demonstration seemed to turn into a street party.

A tour bus drove past honking as hundreds cheered the decision.

One of the demonstrators, Jordan Monaghan, called his mother from his mobile phone amid the celebrations.

"Hey mom, I'm at the Supreme Court. Your son can have a husband now," Mr Monaghan said.

Minutes after the ruling, couples in one of the states that had a ban, Georgia, lined up in hope of being wed.

In Texas, Yasmin Menchaca and her partner Catherine Andrews told the BBC that they are "trying to round up our parents" in order to get married on Friday.

The two have been together for six years, and had attempted to marry in Washington state - but decided to wait because of the financial burden of flying their parents across the country.

On social media, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton merely tweeted the word "proud" and the White House changed its Twitter avatar into the rainbow colours.

The case considered by the court concerned Jim Obergefell, an Ohio resident who was not recognised as the legal widower of his late husband, John Arthur.

"It's my hope that gay marriage will soon be a thing of the past, and from this day forward it will simply be 'marriage,'" an emotional Mr Obergefell said outside the court.

The first state to allow same-sex marriage was Massachusetts, which granted the right in 2004.
In recent years, a wave of legal rulings and a dramatic shift in public opinion have expanded gay marriage in the US.

In 2012, the high court struck down a federal anti same-sex marriage law.

Source: BBC News: 

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UK arrests Rwanda intelligence chief on war crimes warrant

[JURIST] London's Metropolitan Police announced Tuesday that it has arrested Rwanda National Intelligence and Security Services head Karenzi Karake on an international warrant for war crimes. The European Arrest Warrant was issued in 2008 by Spanish High Court Judge Fernando Andreu for Karake's alleged role in the 1997 killings of three Spanish aid workers. The Rwandan government has strongly criticized the arrest. UK authorities have not yet said whether they will extradite Karake to Spain to stand trial, but have set a hearing for June 25.

Spain's assertion of jurisdiction for crimes that occur outside its boards has long been controversial. In February 2014, the country's parliament approved a bill to limit its use of so-called "universal jurisdiction." In October 2013, a Spanish court indicted former Chinese president Hu Jintao over the alleged genocide against Tibetans. Also in October, the Spanish government summoned US Ambassador to Spain James Costos to discuss spying allegations in light of documents released by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden. In April 2011, the Spanish National Court agreed to turn over to the US an investigation of torture claims at Guantanamo Bay, after increased pressure from the US. In 2009, the Spanish Congress limited the country's universal jurisdiction statute. Unlike the recent bill, the 2009 law only applied prospectively, allowing any on-going investigations to proceed, including investigations of Israeli actions in Gaza in 2002, detainee abuse at Guantanamo Bay and allegations of war crimes and genocide in Rwanda, Tibet, Guatemala, and China.

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Egypt's ousted President Morsi jailed for 20 years

An Egyptian court has sentenced ousted President Mohammed Morsi to 20 years in jail for ordering the arrest and torture of protesters during his rule.

It is the first verdict he has received since his overthrow and is one of several trials he faces.

Morsi was deposed by the military in July 2013 following mass street protests against his rule.
Since then, the authorities have banned his Muslim Brotherhood movement and arrested thousands of his supporters.

Morsi and 14 other Brotherhood figures escaped a more serious charge of inciting the killing of protesters, which could have carried the death sentence.

Most of the other defendants were also given 20-year prison sentences. Morsi's legal team have said they will appeal.

Morsi stood accused of inciting supporters to kill a journalist and opposition protesters in clashes outside the presidential palace in late 2012.

As crowds grew outside the palace, Morsi ordered the police to disperse them.

They refused, so the Muslim Brotherhood brought in their own supporters. Eleven people died in the ensuing clashes, mostly from the Brotherhood.

Hearing the verdict, Morsi and the other defendants gave a four-fingered salute, a symbol of the deadly clearance of Brotherhood supporters at the Rabaah al-Adawiya mosque in 2013.

A senior Brotherhood figure, Amr Darrag, called the ruling a "travesty of justice".
"They want to pass a life sentence for democracy in Egypt," he said.

Ramy Ghanem, a lawyer for one of those injured in the clashes, expressed surprise that Morsi escaped the more serious charge, but told the AFP news agency the sentences are "not bad".

However the brother of one of the victims said he wanted to "enter the cage and pull out his [Morsi's] intestines", according to Reuters.

Morsi has rejected the authority of the courts, shouting during his first trial that he was the victim of a military coup.

On Monday, a court sentenced 22 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death for an attack on a police station in Cairo, part of an ongoing crackdown against the Islamist movement.

Morsi was Egypt's first freely-elected president, but protests began building less than a year into his rule when he issued a decree granting himself far-reaching powers.

A court dropped charges of conspiracy to kill protesters against Morsi's predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, last year.

Source: BBC: 

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