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For your Wednesday lunch today-

Science:

  • Bill Nye, my childhood science mentor via PBS, debated Ken Ham last night on the science of evolution vs. creationism. Ham is the president of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, where the debate took place and was livestreamed. Um, yeah. Mashable has a recap here.
  • You can also watch the debate on youtube, embeded below.

  • We have our own share of science-deniers here in the Tar Heel state… The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences denied to show a documentary Shored Up, about the impacts of climate change on places like our lovely Outer Banks, also one of my personal favorite places in the world… But hey, you can still catch it tonight at NCSU or tomorrow at Full Frame Theatre in Durham. More here from WRAL.
  • Trailer below.

Health and Technology:

  • Rumor has it Apple hired an expert on sleep research, Dr. Roy J.E.M. Raymann, onto its team developing the ‘iWatch’ project. So I guess you better watch out cause soon Santa will not be the only one who sees you when you’re sleeping. More here from The Telegraph.
  • Read More

Blue CrossWe’ve often given Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina a hard time down through the years here at The Pulse, but today the insurance giant deserves credit for admitting it screwed up and taking action to correct its recent error of cancelling polices of same-sex couples.

According to BCBSNC boss Brad Wilson: “We should have more thoughtfully considered this decision, with full appreciation of the impact it would have on same-sex married couples and domestic partners. We’re sorry we failed to do so.”

Good for Wilson and BCBSNC. You can read the company’s entire statement by clicking here.

Virginia’s attorney general has become the latest to conclude that his state’s ban on marriage equality is unconstitutional. As WRAL.com reports:

“Following a seismic political shift in Virginia’s top elected offices, the new attorney general has concluded that the state’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional and he will no longer defend it in federal lawsuits, his office said Thursday.

Virginia, widely considered a battleground state in the nationwide fight to grant same-sex couples the right to wed, will instead side with the plaintiffs who are seeking to have the ban struck down, a spokesman for Attorney General Mark Herring said in an email to The Associated Press.

‘After a thorough legal review of the matter, Attorney General Herring has concluded that Virginia’s current ban is in violation of the U.S. constitution and he will not defend it,’ spokesman Michael Kelly wrote.”

This new decision is just the latest in what NC Policy Watch contributor Dr. Charles Beem described a few weeks ago as an inevitable procession of dominoes in this area. It’s now becoming a matter of “when” rather than “what” on the marriage equality question.

 

Online registration is closed, but you can still make today’s Crucial Conversation luncheon: “Parents in life, strangers on paper: How North Carolina laws barring second-parent adoption and marriage for same-sex couples jeopardize families and their children.”  

The event will take place 12:00 noon  (box lunches will be available at 11:45 a.m.) at the Center for Community Leadership Training Room at the Junior League of Raleigh Building, 711 Hillsborough St. (at the corner of Hillsborough and St. Mary’s streets).

To sign up, just email Rob Schofield at rob@ncpolicywatch.com or call at 919-861-2065.

In a statement released this morning,  the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation (ACLU-NCLF) announced that they would challenge the state’s ban on same sex marriage by amending a federal lawsuit pending here concerning a ban on second parent adoptions.

The move comes on the same day as similar challenges were announced in Pennsylvania and Virginia and just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court decision in  United States v. Windsor, in which the court found that the federal Defense of Marriage Act defining marriage as between one man and one woman was unconstitutional.

As stated in the announcement :

The ACLU is asking North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper to agree to allow an additional claim challenging the state’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples to be added to Fisher-Borne v. Smith, a lawsuit filed last year in Greensboro in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina that challenges the state’s ban on second parent adoption, a process by which one partner in an unmarried gay or straight couple adopts the other partner’s biological or adoptive child. If the Attorney General’s office does not agree to the addition of the new claim, the ACLU will petition the court to allow the claim to be added.