National News Explained

Sheila Gregory, Co-Editor

GAY MARRIAGE DECISION

Monday Oct. 6, the Supreme Court declared they would no longer hear appeals regarding same-sex marriage. Five states — Virginia, Utah, Oklahoma, Indiana and Wisconsin — now have to leave their lower-court rulings intact, which declare bans on gay marriage unconstitutional. The Supreme Court decision immediately ended delays on same-sex couples obtaining marriage licenses, and same-sex marriage is now fully legal in those states. Six more states within the fourth and tenth Circuit Courts of Appeals — which deal with overturning rulings — removed bans since they had ruled previously in favor of the legalization of gay marriage. These states, including Kansas, are working out details of legalizing gay marriage.

Why is this a big deal? 

By not acting on this issue, the Supreme Court has made their view on the issue clear. With 31 states as of Oct. 21 having fully legal gay marriages, the LGBTQ community is rejoicing at the victory for couples and the many benefits that accompany marriage. States where the Supreme Court decision did not affect the marriage laws may see an increase in appeals to remove bans and provide union for same-sex couples. Some questioned whether or not the Supreme Court would ever uphold another ban or make gay marriage illegal, thus declaring other previously officiated unions null. This is not a likely scenario, and laws regarding marriage will probably be contained to the state level.

So what happened in Kansas? 

The Johnson County court system overturned bans on gay marriage previously in place, but since that was only within Johnson County, all marriage licenses have been put on hold until the courts can make a state-wide decision.

FREE TUITION IN GERMANY

Universities in Germany now offer free tuition to every student — domestic or foreign. While Germany had never had high tuitions, the country’s legislature deemed it unjust to make students pay and thought it discouraged families with lower income to send students to college. For international students, a fluent knowledge of the language is required to comprehend classes.

Why is this a big deal? 

With the average student debt of $50,000 for an American coming out of college, the idea of not paying for higher-level education is a promising one. However, for any student considering attending college in Germany, several factors need to be taken into account. For one, the student life is nonexistent, and there are no academic advisers to aid with graduation. Virtually no classes are taught completely in English thus requiring an extensive knowledge of German. Those wanting a tuition-free college education here must take into account the taxes to support such a system. Germans taxes are 43 percent of their incomes, which would be declared socialist here.

PUMPKIN FESTIVAL RIOT

An annual pumpkinfest got out of control in Keene, New Hampshire, on Oct. 16 when crowds exhibited unruly and mob-like behavior at the neighborhood event. More than 30 people went to the hospital, and the police made nearly 45 arrests, the majority of which were college students. After the crowd of 6,000 cleared out, officials stated it would take almost a week to clean the streets and to repair damages.

Why is this a big deal? 

College students attending the festival were outraged by the force police used against crowds, rioting or not. Tear gas, rubber bullets and batons were all employed to get the group under control. This further shows the unnecessary force police departments use toward civilians as earlier demonstrated in cases such as Ferguson, Missouri.