BY Sunnivie Brydum
December 19 2013
In a landmark decision, the New Mexico Supreme Court declared that marriage rights must be extended to same-sex couples throughout the state.
The state’s highest court unanimously ruled that denying committed same-sex couples the right to marry violated the Equal Protection clause of the New Mexico constitution.
“We hold that the State of New Mexico is constitutionally required to allow same-gender couples to marry and must extend to them the rights, protections, and responsibilities that derive from civil marriage under New Mexico law,” reads the ruling.
The court rejected the argument presented by marriage equality opponents that the state had a legitimate governmental interest in “responsible procreation and childrearing,” declaring that supposed interest “is not reflected in the history of the development of New Mexico’s marriage laws. Procreation has never been a condition of marriage under New Mexico law, as evidenced by the fact that the aged, the infertile, and those who choose not to have children are not precluded from marrying. In addition, New Mexico law recognizes the right of same-gender couples to raise children.”
The unanimous decision orders all county clerks in the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and also confirms the legal validity of the unions of same-sex couples who married in New Mexico prior to today’s decision, after officials in several counties began issuing marriage licenses to them.
“This truly is a historic and joyful day for New Mexico, said Laura Schauer Ives, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico, one of the groups that represented the six same-sex couples in the case before the court, along with the national ACLU and the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “As a state, we have always strived to treat all families with dignity and respect, and today’s decision allowing loving, committed same sex couples to marry continues that tradition. The more than 1,000 same-sex couples who have already married in New Mexico can now rest certain knowing their marriages will be recognized and respected by our state.”
Added NCLR legal director Shannon Minter: “Today’s decision by the New Mexico Supreme Court is a powerful affirmation that same-sex couples are equal members of New Mexico’s diverse culture and must be given the same legal protections and respect as other families. With this ruling, New Mexico joins 16 other states, the District of Columbia, and at least eight Native American tribes that permit same-sex couples to marry. This is an important day, not only for New Mexico, but for the entire country.”
By Rod Bastanmehr
December 19, 2013
A new Consumer Reports study finds a disturbingly high statistic: 97% of the chicken breasts CR tested were found to harbor bacteria that could make you sick. That’s just three percent shy of all the chicken.
The report analyzed more than 300 raw chicken breasts purchased at stores across the U.S., and found potentially harmful bacteria lurking in almost all of the it. The staggering statistic also included organic brands, so foodies beware: a revised label and trendy buzzword does not a safe poultry make. The numbers came to light during an intensive investigation after the October news of a national salmonella outbreak linked to three Foster Farms chicken plants, which soon yielded troubling results for more than just the one company’s chicken product. In the case of the Foster Farms outbreak, nearly 390 people were infected, with 40% of them hospitalized in critical condition—double the percentage historically linked to salmonella outbreaks.
The news marks a particularly dark turn in what is widely considered America’s most popular meat. Consumer Reports estimates that Americans buy an average of 83 pounds of chicken per capita annually. Each year, nearly 2 million Americans fight antibiotic-resistant infection, with 23,000 succumbing to the virus. As a result, many are calling for the Food and Drug Administration to release new guidelines addressing antibiotic overuse in livestock.
The Consumer Reports test found bacteria in chicken purchased in markets in 26 states across the country. Additionally, the report found that almost none of the major brands were free of bacteria, more than half were tainted with fecal contaminants, about half of the samples tested positive for at least one multi-drug-resistant bacterium, and of the 65% of samples that tested positive for E. coli, nearly 18% featured particularly vicious strands of the disease that are known to heighten the probability of urinary-tract infection substantially higher.
While cooking chicken at specific temperatures does tend to kill bacteria if heat reaches at least 165 degrees fahrenheit, the temperature may not be enough to eliminate risk of exposure, as bugs and disease may linger elsewhere on kitchen surfaces, faucets and utensils. Even worse, contaminated chicken can affect people not buying chicken when it lingers on shopping carts at the grocery stores.