National News Highlights — November 25, 2022

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer — Photo by J. Scott Applewhite / AP
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer — Photo by J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Gay marriage poised for federal protections
On Wednesday last week, the Senate cleared a bill protecting same-sex and interracial marriage, moving it forward and giving the US a chance to make such unions part of federal law.

Democrats were unified in the decision, while just 12 Republicans voted in favor of the bill. The final vote in Congress could come anytime this month, as the bill's Democratic supporters are eager to pass it while they maintain control of the House.

"It will make our country a better, fairer place to live," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. He also called the bill a chance for the Senate to "live up to its highest ideals."

Biden expressed complete support for the bill after the vote: "Love is love, and Americans should have the right to marry the person they love."

To bring more Republicans on board with the legislation, supporters have negotiated an amendment that would clarify that it would not affect any rights of individuals or private businesses already enshrined in law. Another amendment would explicitly prohibit polygamy, after far-right critics brought that idea out of left field.

Trans rights teeter in North Carolina
Trans residents of North Carolina, and their allies, are worrying for the future of gender-affirming health care in the state, after almost enough Republicans won state-level elections to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's vetoes to potential anti-Trans legislation.

"Before I came out, I was thinking about those laws, and I was like, I know I'm male, but do I really want to deal with this?" recalled 16-year-old Callum Bradford. "Can't I just go back to when I was innocent and untouched by hate?"

North Carolina's 2016 anti-Trans legislation, which restricted access to public restrooms and prevented municipalities from enforcing new anti-discrimination laws, was early inspiration for the more recent wave of anti-Trans bills.

Even during the Trump era, though, those policies came with a hefty cost. Sports tournaments, businesses, and conventions essentially boycotted North Carolina in response, costing the state around $3.76 billion in revenue. The state withdrew the legislation just a year later, and settled in federal court in 2019.

For people like Bradford, potentially life-saving medical care is contingent on state Democrats holding a united front against veto overrides. His father has been researching apartments in Virginia just in case that front fails.