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The Senate has passed landmark  bipartisan legislation to protect same-sex marriages. It's an extraordinary sign of shifting national politics on the issue and a measure of relief for the hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples who have married since the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision that legalized gay marriage nationwide. The bill approved Tuesday would ensure that same-sex and interracial marriages are enshrined in federal law. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says the legislation is “a long time coming” and part of America’s “difficult but inexorable march towards greater equality.” Senate Democrats are moving quickly to send the bill to the House and President Joe Biden’s desk.

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A court in Tokyo says Japan’s lack of law to protect the rights of same-sex couples to marry and become families violates the constitution. The court however said the government’s lack of legislative action is not illegal and threw out plaintiffs’ compensation demands. Still, the ruling is a partial victory for LGBTQ couples. The Tokyo District Court said same-sex couples should enjoy the same legal protection as heterosexual couples through marriage. The plaintiffs and their lawyers welcomed the ruling and urged the government to promptly take steps to enact a law to mitigate the problem in a country still largely bound by traditional gender roles and family values.

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The Senate is set to vote Tuesday on legislation to protect same-sex and interracial marriages, putting Congress one step closer to passing the landmark bill and ensuring that such unions are enshrined in federal law. Senate Democrats are moving to quickly pass the bill while they still hold the majority in both chambers. The House would still have to vote on the legislation and send it to President Joe Biden. A test vote Monday evening moved the legislation closer to passage, with 12 Republicans who have previously supported the bill voting again to move it forward. Democrats set up a Tuesday afternoon vote on final passage.

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Many young people in South Korea have chosen not to marry or have children, citing a change of views toward a marriage and family life and uncertainty of their future. The country's census shows the population shrank for the first time last year. Other advanced countries have similar trends, but South Korea’s demographic crisis is much worse. Some experts say a declining population could cause a massive strain on the country’s economy, the world’s 10th largest, because of a labor shortage and a greater welfare spending on older people. President Yoon Suk Yeol has recently instructed officials to work out more scientific, effective steps to raise the fertility rate to address these challenges.

Gladys Knight recalls Christmas as more than a family affair when she was growing up in Atlanta. The legendary singer says her parents would “embrace" all the kids in the neighborhood. Knight is looking forward to welcoming extended family to her North Carolina home for the holiday. She's also celebrating on screen with the TV movie “I’m Glad It’s Christmas,” airing Saturday on the Great American Family channel. Knight plays matchmaker Cora, who wants to bring a salesclerk dreaming of Broadway fame and a songwriter together for a small town’s Christmas concert. Jessica Lowndes and Paul Greene co-star in “I'm Glad It's Christmas.”

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The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman is among those urging action in response to a report that a former anti-abortion leader knew in advance the outcome of a 2014 Supreme Court case involving health care coverage of contraception. The report Saturday in The New York Times follows the stunning leak earlier this year of a draft opinion in the case in which the high court ended constitutional protections for abortion. That decision was written by Justice Samuel Alito, who is also the author of the majority opinion in the 2014 case at the center of the new report. In a statement, Alito denies that he disclosed the outcome of the contraception case.

Pastor Kenneth Drayton and Tomika Reid try to inspire passengers through spiritual guidance on the road as part of what they see as Christian ride-hailing ministries. Drayton is an ordained pastor in Brooklyn. Reid is a single mother and children’s book author in New Jersey. Both drive for Lyft and share the word of God as roving preachers. And they both believe the church goes beyond the brick-and-mortar. Drayton says the power of God can be experienced outside a sanctuary. Reid has lost several loved ones and hopes to encourage passengers by telling her story of faith.

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Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, the chatty, upbeat, rainbow-loving duo, already star in the Netflix reality series “Get Organized with The Home Edit,” have co-authored books on their approach and sell their own line of products. Now they are the hosts of a new weekly podcast “Best Friend Energy." It comes as the pair get ready to close a whirlwind chapter in their personal and professional lives. Earlier this year, The Home Edit was bought by Reese Witherspoon’s media and entertainment company Hello Sunshine. Shearer was also diagnosed with breast cancer and has shared her experience on social media.

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Legislation to protect same-sex and interracial marriages has crossed a major Senate hurdle, putting Congress on track to take the historic step of ensuring that such unions are enshrined in federal law. Twelve Republicans voted with all Democrats to move forward on the legislation, meaning a final vote could come as soon as this week, or later this month. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says the bill ensuring the unions are legally recognized under the law is chance for the Senate to “live up to its highest ideals” and protect marriage equality for all people. Senate Democrats are quickly moving to pass the bill while the party still controls the House.

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The three University of Virginia football players who were killed are being remembered as funny, sweet and ambitious. Lavel Davis Jr., aspired to be the country’s best wide receiver and to play in the NFL. The 6-foot-7 sports star was known to be ambitious and sought out friendships with students who weren’t athletes like him. D’Sean Perry had shifted seamlessly from linebacker to defensive end. He was also an amazing studio artist who loved to cook. Devin Chandler transferred in from Wisconsin, where the wide receiver returned a total of four kicks for 85 yards. He was known for his sense of humor and for lifting people up. Authorities say that all three men were killed Sunday by a fellow student and former football player.

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Among faith leaders and denominations across the U.S., there are sharp differences over the bill advancing in the Senate that would protect same-sex and interracial marriages in federal law. The measure, a high priority for congressional Democrats, has now won a key test vote. Twelve Senate Republicans joined all 50 Democrats to forward the bill to a final vote in the coming days. Ahead of the vote, one of the most prominent conservative-leaning denominations -- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- came out in favor of the legislation. But the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention remain opposed.

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints voiced its support for proposed federal legislation safeguarding same-sex marriages. The Utah-based faith said in a statement Tuesday that church doctrine would continue to consider same-sex relationships against God’s commandments. Yet it said it would support rights for same-sex couples as long as they don't infringe on religious groups’ right to believe as they choose. Support for the Respect for Marriage Act under consideration in Congress is the church’s latest step to stake out a more welcoming stance toward the LGBTQ community, while holding firm to its belief that same-sex relationships are sinful.

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The three University of Virginia football players who were killed are being remembered as funny, sweet and ambitious. Lavel Davis Jr., aspired to be the country’s best wide receiver and to play in the NFL. The 6-foot-7 sports star was known to be ambitious and sought out friendships with students who weren’t athletes like him. D’Sean Perry had shifted seamlessly from linebacker to defensive end. He was also an amazing studio artist who loved to cook. Devin Chandler transferred in from Wisconsin, where the wide receiver returned a total of four kicks for 85 yards. He was known for his sense of humor and for lifting people up. Authorities say that all three men were killed Sunday by a fellow student and former football player.

Mayan Lopez’s co-star in her new NBC sitcom “Lopez vs. Lopez” happens to be her real-life dad, George Lopez. The two play a father and daughter who are repairing their relationship after years of not getting along. George’s previous TV roles in “The George Lopez Show” and “Lopez” were based on his real life, and so is “Lopez vs. Lopez.” After her parents' 2012 divirce, Mayan says she and her dad didn’t have much contact until they reconnected during the pandemic. During that time, Mayan would film a lot of TikTok videos with her dad and a producer noticed them and thought their story would make good TV.

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The movement for “parents’ rights” saw many of its candidates come up short in this year’s midterm elections. But if history is any guide, the cause is certain to live on. Activists through the generations have stood up for various things in the name of parents’ rights in education. Over the last century, the term has been invoked in disputes related to homeschooling, sex education and even the teaching of foreign languages in schools.

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Some LGBTQ soccer fans are skipping the World Cup in Qatar. They’re concerned about how safe and welcome they’d feel in the conservative Gulf country that criminalizes same-sex relations. Before the tournament kicked off, there were already questions about what legacy it would leave behind amid growing international scrutiny over Qatar’s human rights record in general. Meanwhile, activists and human rights groups are seizing the moment to focus attention on conditions of LGBTQ Qatari citizens and residents. They want to raise concerns about how those people may be treated after the tournament's spotlight fades. Qatar says it welcomes all and does not tolerate discrimination against anyone, but says visitors should respect its culture.

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Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter says he's heartbroken over the death of his “baby brother,” 34-year-old singer Aaron Carter. His body was found Saturday at his home in Southern California. The older Carter said Sunday on Instagram that that he had a “complicated relationship" with the youngest of his five siblings, but that he always loved him. Authorities said Saturday that a house sitter found a man in the bathtub in Carter's home and resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful. Aaron Carter struggled with substance abuse and mental health. Nick Carter said that “addiction and mental illness is the real villain here.”

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Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter says he's heartbroken over the death of his “baby brother,” 34-year-old singer Aaron Carter. His body was found Saturday at his home in Southern California. The older Carter said Sunday on Instagram that that he had a “complicated relationship" with the youngest of his five siblings, but that he always loved him. Authorities said Saturday that a house sitter found a man in the bathtub in Carter's home and resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful. Aaron Carter struggled with substance abuse and mental health. Nick Carter said that “addiction and mental illness is the real villain here.”

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