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  Same-Sex Marriage

  On May 15, 2008, the California Supreme Court approved same-sex marriages in the state of California. By a vote of 4 to 3, the court declared that limiting a marriage to a union between a man and a woman violated the state constitution.

  The court’s decision was a huge victory for gays and lesbians throughout the state. Hundreds waited outside the courthouse in Sacramento for the announcement, which they greeted with cheers, hugs, and kisses. TV crews interviewed joyful couples.

  However, conservative opponents have vowed to fight the decision. They plan to gather over a million signatures for a constitutional amendment in November to overturn this decision. If California voters approve the amendment, lawyer Gloria Allred said, “I will take this case to the US Supreme Court. Gays must be free to marry.”

  It was only 60 years ago that most states banned interracial marriages. However, in 1967 the US Supreme Court ended those bans. Now the conflict is about sex instead of race. At present, only two states legally recognize same-sex marriages—Massachusetts and California. Worldwide, only five countries legally recognize such marriages.

  “California has joined the 21st century,” said Elton John. “Now Cole Porter and I can finally get married in our favorite city, San Francisco.”

  “If we normal people don't vote for the amendment,” said conservative George Smith, “God will surely destroy this entire state.”

  Making Peace with Russia

  The late Boris Nyof is becoming a nonperson. He was president of Akmenistan, a tiny but oil-rich country near Russia. The new president, Ivan Gurba, has banned all media use of Nyof’s name. Gurba has removed all the photos, posters, and statues of Nyof. In the capital city, Gurba has ordered the destruction of a stainless steel spire honoring Nyof. Gurba shut down the spire's floodlights and mechanisms.

  “From the steel, we will build a Museum of Peace,” said Gurba. The 100-foot-tall spire was brilliantly lit every night for the last 10 years. At its top was a likeness of Nyof’s head, 16 feet in diameter. The head made a complete revolution every 59 minutes. Then it paused for one minute, while flames shot out of Nyof’s mouth, accompanied by the roar of a lion.

  Every day at noon, “Nyof” gave a three-minute speech talking about what a great president he had been. There was a different speech for each day of the year. Every January 18, for example, Nyof talked about how he had paved all of Akmenistan’s dirt roads—by himself. Every July 3, he described how he had invented the Internet.

  As president, Nyof actually had renamed the days of the week after his siblings, and the sun and moon after his parents. He had banned marriage. Instead, couples in love signed one-year “Friendship” contracts, renewable yearly—if both “friends” agreed.

  Although citizens thought Nyof was a little weird, they liked him for boldly standing up to occasional threats from Russia. Now that he was gone, Russia seemed more intent on acquiring Akmenistan’s oil—one way or another. Gurba thought that he might help prevent a Russian invasion by removing all traces of Nyof and by building the Museum of Peace.

  Protecting the Public

  The California state assembly recently approved the so-called Paris Hilton bill, which bars dogs from occupying the driver’s seat in a moving vehicle. The bill passed because Democrats wanted to make an example of Miss Hilton. They think she is a “little rich girl” who always gets her way; plus, her daddy is a big contributor to the Republican party. “The judge should have put her in jail for four months,” said one Democrat when Paris got only a four-day jail sentence for driving while intoxicated.

  Driving around town with her little dog Lovey hanging out the driver’s window, Paris is a familiar sight throughout Los Angeles. Pictures of her and Lovey are common in newspapers and magazines.

  “That dog is a deadly menace to everyone on the streets and the sidewalks,” said assembly leader Fabian Nunez. “We wrote this bill to protect the public. There's no telling when the dog might cause her to drive into a crowd of pedestrians. If Paris wants to be with her dog, let her chauffeur do the driving. The state assembly is responsible for protecting people, and we take that responsibility seriously.”

  The assembly bill passed by a vote of 44 to 11. The state senate is expected to approve the bill, and Governor Schwarzenegger has promised to sign it. “I love dogs,” he said, “but when it comes to protecting the people of California, dogs will have to take a back seat.”

  The eleven assembly members who objected to the bill were all Republicans. “While Californians,” said Republican Tom Ridge, “are being attacked daily by murderers, rapists, and muggers, who do the Democrats protect citizens from—a spoiled little girl and her dog!”

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