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Nevada Becomes First State To Protect Same-Sex Marriage In Constitution

This week, Nevada became the first state in the US to recognize same-sex marriages in its state constitution.

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This week, Nevada became the first state in the US to recognize same-sex marriages in its state constitution. The right to same-sex marriage was one four new amendments to the state constitution, which also included a Voters’ Bill of Rights and a renewable energy mandate.

Nevada residents voted for a ballot initiative that removed an inactive same-sex marriage ban from the state constitution. Voters had previously banned same-sex marriage in Nevada by passing a constitutional amendment in the 2000 and 2002 elections, but that ruling was superseded by the 2015 US Supreme Court ruling that legalized the practice throughout the country.

Briana Escamilla, Human Rights Campaign’s Nevada director, said that the large number of people who voted for the measure is an indication of a positive shift in the culture.

“This overwhelming majority should be a reminder that LGBTQ equality is not just the right thing to do, it is exactly what Nevadans want,” Escamilla said.

As part of the measure, religious organizations and clergy members will be allowed to refuse to perform marriages in these circumstances.

While same-sex marriage is currently legal due to the Supreme Court ruling, there is concern that recent changes in the court could lead to a reversal of the 2015 decision. If the nationwide legalization decision is overturned in the future, at least Nevada will be safe for LGBT people, and perhaps such measures will also take form in other states

“I am just so elated that Nevada is the first state to take that stand and my community has taken that stand,” Lyric Burt told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “Because we’ve voted red for so long in a lot of presidential elections, it got this reputation for being a really conservative state. But there are some things in our state that show that we are progressive.”

Advocates for LGBT and women’s rights have been worried about how incoming supreme court justice Amy Coney Barrett could wipe away many of the freedoms that have been won over the past few decades. Barrett is part of a cultish religious group that has very puritanical and male-supremacist ideals. 

Despite growing concern over authoritarians in leadership roles in government, Americans are overwhelming choosing in favor of freedom on ballot initiatives. As The Mind Unleashed reported earlier this week, Oregon became the first state in the country to decriminalize possession of hard drugs including heroin, cocaine, and LSD.

Oregon’s new law reclassifies the low-level possession of illegal substances including heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, LSD, methadone, and oxycodone from a misdemeanor to a non-criminal violation, punishable by either a $100 fine or a health assessment. The new law will go into effect on February 1st. An overwhelming majority of 59% voted in favor of the measure.

Five states, New Jersey, Arizona, Montana, And South Dakota voted to legalize recreational marijuana, joining Washington DC and 11 other states that had already legalized recreational cannabis.

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Animals

Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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Animals

Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son

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A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.

The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.

The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.

The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.

The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.

The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.

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Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter

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The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.

However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.

In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.

It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.

The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.

Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.

The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.

Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.

The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.

The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.

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