Anderson Cooper Debates Arizona Senator Al Melvin Over ‘Anti-Gay’ Law

Cooper asked, “Can you give me a specific example of someone in Arizona who’s been forced to do something against their religious belief or successfully sued because of their faith?”

Melvin said he could not, arguing the bill is “preemptive.” Cooper asked him if, hypothetically, a Catholic loan officer could refuse to give a loan to a divorced woman. Melvin told Cooper he was being “far-fetched,” insisting, “I don’t know of anybody in Arizona who would discriminate against a fellow human being.”

When Cooper pointed out that Arizona businesses (including the state Chamber of Commerce) oppose the bill, Melvin said it’s “because there has become a media frenzy on this.” Cooper incredulously asked, “You’re seriously blaming the media on this?! Oh, come on.”

Office Of National Drug Control Policy Awards $625,000 To The Zebra Coalition To Prevent Youth Substance Abuse In Central Florida

Zebra CoalitionWashington, D.C. — Tuesday, October 28, 2013 – Gil Kerlikowske, former Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), announced $19.8 million in new Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program grants to 147 communities and 19 new DFC Mentoring grants across the country. The awards announced recently are in addition to the $59.4 million in continuation grants simultaneously released to 473 currently funded DFC coalitions and four DFC Mentoring continuation coalitions. The Zebra Coalition in Orlando, Fla. was one of the grant recipients and will receive $625,000 in DFC grant funds to involve and engage their local community to prevent substance use among youth.

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Same-Sex Married Couples To Get Federal Tax Recognition Regardless Of State

Under the new Treasury policy, all federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor, including filing status, employee benefits, IRA contributions, earned income, child tax credits, and income, gift and estate taxes, will apply to same sex couples regardless of where they live. On the flip side, gay couples also will now be subjected to the so-called marriage penalty, in which some (usually upper-middle class) joint filers incur a higher tax burden than they would if they filed as single people.

The policy only applies to married couples, and not those in domestic partnerships or same-sex unions.

“With today’s ruling, committed and loving gay and lesbian married couples will now be treated equally under our nation’s federal tax laws, regardless of what state they call home,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin. “These families finally have access to crucial tax benefits and protections previously denied to them under the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act.”

The Treasury’s actions on Thursday are just the latest in a set of LGBT policies offered by agencies within the Obama administration following the DOMA ruling. TheFederal Election Commission, and Departments of Health and Human Services andHomeland Security, also extended federal benefits to gay couples in states that don’t recognize their marriages.