They've been a couple for two years and are eager to raise two children together. But it wasn't until Thursday that Holli Bartelt and Amy Petrich were allowed to legally wed.
They wasted no time.
They made plans to tie the knot one minute after a law permitting gay marriage went into effect in their home state of Minnesota.
At 12 a.m. Thursday, Minnesota and Rhode Island officially became the latest among 13 states - and the District of Columbia - to allow same-sex marriage. Both states passed applicable laws in May.
Nine cents have been enough to make tens of thousands of Brazilians cry foul for a week.
For the demonstrators who have transformed streets in Sao Paulo and Belo Horizonte into protest battlegrounds, it isn't so much that the price of a bus ticket went up from 3.00 to 3.20 reais ($1.38 to $1.47).
The small bump in fare was the straw that broke the camel's back in a much larger issue, and protesters plan to march again Tuesday to vent their anger.
The border with Mexico must be secure.
This requirement is the cornerstone of an immigration reform bill a bipartisan group of senators are to file on Capitol Hill Tuesday. There will be no path to legal residency for migrants without it.
Undocumented immigrants may also not reach the status of fully legal residents under the proposed legislation, until the Department of Homeland Security has implemented measures to prevent "unauthorized workers from obtaining employment in the United States."FULL STORY
The Supreme Court agreed today to decide whether the key enforcement provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 should be scrapped, amid arguments it is a constitutionally unnecessary vestige of the civil rights era.
Known as Section 5, the provision gives the federal government open-ended oversight of states and localities with a history of voter discrimination. Any changes in voting laws and procedures in the covered states must be "pre-cleared" by federal authorities in Washington.
The UEFA European Football Championship is second only to the World Cup in size and prestige, and it's equally rich in storylines. But right now, one storyline seems to overwhelm all others.
The story today is not whether Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo can shake his reputation as Europe's Lebron James, a man who wows fans all season only to choke in big games. Nor is the story about whether defending champion Spain can defend the title without two of its biggest stars. It's also not about how Franck Ribery and the French squad can rebound from an embarrassing, soap opera-esque campaign in the 2010 World Cup.
Heck, the media aren't even paying that much attention to German coach Joachim Low's promise to break world soccer protocol by allowing his team to smoke, drink booze and have sex during the tournament. That would normally be prime tabloid fodder.
Nope, the story today is about racism, especially within the stadiums of Poland and Ukraine, which are jointly hosting the Euro 2012 tournament beginning Friday. The day before the competition began, the Dutch national team opted to train on the opposite side of its training ground at Stadion Miejski in Warsaw because of racist chants, Dutch captain Mark van Bommel said Thursday.
And while a recent BBC investigation showed several instances of bigotry and racism at club games there - some of them violent - Polish and Ukrainian officials are insisting their countries have been misrepresented.
"There is a problem with racism and anti-Semitism in Poland, but it is blown out of every possible proportion in this material," Marcin Bosacki, Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman, said of the BBC documentary. "We are hospitable and treat all people who come here as friends."
Ukrainian Ambassador to the UK Volodymyr Khandogiy also defended his country, saying, "Ukraine is very well known for its tolerance and it has a long history of living together with other nationalities. In our national football championship, roughly half of all the players are from Asian, African and Brazilian countries."
Regardless, many players and former players are speaking out, and English police issued a warning to fans after the Ukrainian neo-Nazi group Donetsk Company threatened to attack black and Asian English supporters during the tournament, Sky Sports News reported.
The families of Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, black English internationals who play for London's Arsenal, have said they will not attend the tournament because they fear becoming victims. Former English captain Sol Campbell, in the BBC documentary, warned his countrymen to stay out of the host countries.
"Stay at home. Watch it on TV. Don't even risk it because you could end up coming back in a coffin," he told a reporter.
President Barack Obama said in an interview with ABC that "it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married."
With his Wednesday announcement, the president reversed his longstanding position on the issue. It came on the heels of his own vice president and education secretary saying they were in favor of gay marriage.
According to an ABC blog post, Obama further described his thought process as an "evolution" that progressed as he discussed the issue with staff members, gay and lesbian service members and his own family.
He said he thinks Americans are growing increasingly comfortable with the concept of gay marriage and cited his own daughters' views on the matter.
“It’s interesting, some of this is also generational,” he said. “You know, Malia and Sasha, they have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and we’re talking about their friends and their parents.
"And Malia and Sasha, it wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently. It doesn’t make sense to them, and frankly, that’s the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective.”Read CNN's full coverage of President Barack Obama's stance on gay marriage
Encouraging the homeless to find a new haunt is nothing new, but managers at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium may be breaking ground by attempting to do it sonically.
Of course, Manuel Noriega is and David Koresh was familiar with the acoustic warfare tactic, which at least one now-vanquished homeless San Franciscan felt was a harsh reaction to his and his cohorts' squatting, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Between 20 and 40 homeless had been hanging out and sleeping at Civic Center Park, and according to the newspaper, it was a source of frustration for police, the mayor, the city Recreation and Parks Commission and the concert promotion outfit, Another Planet Entertainment, which operates the auditorium.
To combat this scourge, Another Planet began using the building's outside speakers to blare a cacophony of the world's most jarring noises - chainsaws, motorcycles, jackhammers, an aircraft carrier alarm - in hopes of shooing the homeless off of its stoop.
The clamor, which begins nightly at 11 and continues until 7 a.m., prompted building manager Robert Reiter to comment to the paper, "I thought it was the building alarm going off."
The nation pauses Monday to remember the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights icon who would have turned 83 this year had a bullet not cut short his life.
President Barack Obama will mark the holiday with a service project at the Browne Education Campus in Washington on Monday morning, and the first couple will attend the Let Freedom Ring Celebration at the Kennedy Center on Monday evening.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is scheduled to speak at the King Day at the Dome rally in Columbia, South Carolina on Monday, according to organizers of the event. The event will "commemorate Dr. King's life, draw attention to economic and educational equalities in the state, and protest the Confederate battle flag flying in front of the (state capitol) building," organizers said.
A federal holiday to honor King, who was assassinated in April 1968, was first observed in 1986. In 1994, Congress also designated it a national day of service.
On Monday, a group including Washington Mayor Vincent Gray, civil rights activist Dick Gregory and the Rev. Al Sharpton placed a wreath at the memorial honoring King.
"We must be reminded as to why Dr. King has been the one to deserve such a monument and such a holiday," Sharpton said. "... What he did was hold a banner of freedom and equality that actually transformed this nation."FULL STORY
Here is a look at some of the stories that CNN plans on covering this week:
Martin Luther King Jr. documents go online
Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, one of 10 national holidays in the United States.
Besides marking the day as a federal holiday for the 26th time, January 16, 2012, begins a new age of online accessibility for those wanting to know more about King and his work.
The King Center Imaging Project, which makes 200,000 of the civil rights leader's documents quickly accessible online, goes live Monday. King's "I Have a Dream" speech, his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech and his letter from a Birmingham, Alabama, jail are among the documents available.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Non-violent Social Change in Atlanta and JPMorgan Chase & Co., working in partnership with AT&T Business Solutions and EMC, are responsible for the project.
Taking King at his words
The memorial to Martin Luther King Jr. has sparked controversy, and perhaps this is fitting. He was a controversial man whose humanity – and words – still speak volumes today.
Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.
Ah, the good old days, when life was simple and counters were Formica. Kodak film imaging helped document iconic moments in the 20th century, but the photography giant now faces the possibility of bankruptcy. When CNN posted a photo gallery highlighting a collection of Kodachrome photos, plus a CNN iReport assignment asking for users' photos, we expected readers to share their feelings of nostalgia for a bygone era. What surprised us a bit were all the comments debating the meaning of our longings for the good old days.
For many readers, there was an intense feeling of nostalgia. Yet few could forget everything else that isn't shown in a photograph.
Elaine: "These slides fill me with a crushing sadness. Who are these people? How many of them are long dead? How many are forgotten? What happened to their families, their lives, that caused their precious memories to end up in the hands of a stranger - a well-meaning stranger who clearly treasures and takes good care of these images, but is still a stranger? There is an idyllic feeling here, as well, that seems to be gone from today. I agree with many of the other commenters that the 1950s was not idyllic, not only for non-white folk, but for many white folk as well. However, the photos themselves are dreamlike and alien, images not only of people long dead, but an age long gone, never to return. This gallery moved me tremendously. Thank you for sharing these."
One of the most-debated topics was exactly how much "optimism" should be associated with the mid-century. FULL POST
It’s not often that a newspaper can attack another state, pontificate on a hot-button national issue and deliver a targeted economic development pitch in one go.
That’s what the St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board did Tuesday with its open letter, “Hey, Mercedes, time to move to a more welcoming state.”
News surfaced this week that police in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, recently pulled over a man because of a problem with a tag on his rental car. The man, who was German, didn’t have handy what the state considers proper identification, so he was arrested under a provision of Alabama’s immigration law, which is considered the strictest in the land.
Turns out, the man was Detlev Hager, a 46-year-old Mercedes-Benz executive traveling on business. About 10,000 people in the region rely on the company for their livelihood, according to Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, which happens to be the state’s largest exporter.
Hager – one of 66 people charged with not having proper identification since October 1 – had his charges dropped after an associate tendered Hager's passport and German driver’s license, the Tuscaloosa News reported.
Not before the Post-Dispatch took its shot, though.
The Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, a civil rights figure who helped lead efforts in Birmingham, Alabama, has died, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute said Wednesday.
Shuttlesworth is among the iconic figures honored in the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta. King once called Shuttlesworth "the most courageous civil rights fighter in the South."
When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against segregated busing in Montgomery, Alabama, Shuttlesworth rallied the membership of a group he established in May 1956 - the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights - and they challenged the practice of segregated busing in Birmingham.
Shuttlesworth also helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, with King and other civil rights leaders.FULL STORY
Three things you need to know today.
Tacoma school strike: Classes are suspended again Friday in Tacoma, Washington, after teachers voted to continue their strike, in defiance of a a court order to stop.
Rich Wood, the spokesman for the Tacoma teachers union, said teachers voted Thursday to continue their strike despite a judge's Wednesday order. At a union meeting Thursday afternoon, 1,478 teachers voted to keep striking, Wood said, adding that 107 voted "no" or abstained. He said teachers were concerned about how Judge Bryan Chushcoff would react to their defying his order.
The Tacoma School District did not return a call seeking comment, but a message posted on the district's website said school for 28,000 students would be suspended again Friday, as it has been all week.
Rally to stop execution: The Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network plans to hold a candlelight vigil Friday for convicted cop killer Troy Davis at Atlanta's historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. Sharpton will speak at the rally at 7 p.m. ET.
Davis, 42, is set to be executed at 7 p.m. Wednesday by lethal injection next week for the 1989 murder of Savannah, Georgia, police officer Mark MacPhail.
But since his 1991 conviction, seven of the nine witnesses against him have recanted or contradicted their testimony. No physical evidence was presented linking Davis to the killing of the policeman.
Supporters Thursday delivered a massive petition containing more than 663,000 signatures in support of clemency for Davis to Georgia officials.
They're worried that won't be enough, as all legal appeals have been exhausted and only Gov. Nathan Deal or the state Pardon and Parole Board can call off Wednesday's execution. The board denied clemency in 2008.
Bill for Anthony: Casey Anthony owes authorities just under $98,000 for the costs of investigating the disappearance of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, in 2008, a Florida judge ruled Thursday.
The decision means prosecutors are set to recoup less than one-fifth of the more than $516,000 that they had sought. The state had argued that if it were not for the 25-year-old Orlando woman's lies, investigators wouldn't have had to expend the time and money to find her daughter's body.
They searched for five months, eventually finding Caylee's skeletal remains in woods less than a mile from her grandparents' Orlando home.
Orange County Superior Court Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. found Anthony is liable for expenses incurred from July 15, 2008, when Caylee was reported missing, to September 29 of that year, when authorities ended their missing-person case and opened a homicide investigation.
In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court declared all laws establishing segrated schools unconstitutional. That meant African-American students could legally attend all-white schools. By 1957, the NAACP registered a group of nine black students to attend Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas. The school board agreed to comply with the 1954 ruling and approved a plan for gradual integration that would start that school year.
On September 4, that group of students, later nicknamed the "Little Rock 9," attempted to enter Central High on the first day of school, but a crowd of angry students and hundreds of National Guardsmen blocked them from entering. The incident grabbed national attention - and the attention of President Eisenhower. As a result, the nine students attended the school under federal protection, opening the door for black students across the country. In today's Gotta Watch, we're featuring highlights from that historic day and reaction from the Little Rock 9 as they look back on their experiences three decades later.
A day that changed history – Take a look at this historical footage from the very day the so-called Little Rock 9 were blocked from entering their school.
Three things you need to know today.
Labor Day travel: The lousy economy has put a damper on travel plans for this Labor Day weekend, according to a report from motorist group AAA.
A total of 31.5 million Americans are expected to travel at least 50 miles away from home between September 1 and September 5, the group says. That's down 2.4% from last year, when 32.3 million Americans traveled for Labor Day.
The gloomy outlook for the economy is weighing on consumer confidence according to the report, which was produced in cooperation with IHS Global Insight. In particular, it says consumers' discretionary income has not risen enough to keep up with rising travel costs.
Despite the anticipated decline in overall travel, the number of Americans traveling by car over Labor Day weekend is expected to edge up 0.5% to 27.3 million.
Hurricane forecast: Hurricane Irene is forecast to become a powerful Category 3 hurricane with winds of more than 110 mph by Wednesday afternoon, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm could threaten large sections of the Eastern Seaboard, from the Carolinas northward.
Bill Read, director of the Miami-based National Hurricane Center, said the Atlantic Ocean up to Cape Hatteras in North Carolina is warm enough to sustain a major hurricane.
The hurricane center's five-day forecast map shows the storm approaching North Carolina on Saturday and hugging the coast throughout the weekend.
BART cell phones: Officials with San Francisco's transit system have scheduled a special meeting Wednesday to discuss the agency's decision earlier this month to cut off cell phone signals at select stations to ward off protests.
The Bay Area Rapid Transit's board of directors will discuss whether its officers should continue to use the controversial move that has riled up free speech activists.
On August 11, demonstrators had planned a rally to bring attention to a number of transit police officer shootings, including the death of 45-year-old Charles Hill. Hill was shot July 3 after a confrontation with officers.
The transit agency said protests during rush hour endangered the safety of commuters and employees.
Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is tireless in her efforts to bring democracy to her homeland, and on Monday she continued to poke the tiger that is Myanmar's ruling military junta.
The pro-democracy icon led hundreds in a demonstration at a Yangon monastery to commemorate the anniversary of the 1988 uprising that first put Suu Kyi at the forefront of the opposition's call for democratic change, according to The Irrawaddy news magazine.
Several news outlets reported that authorities kept a close eye on the demonstrations but did not harass protesters despite the government's repeated warning to Suu Kyi that she should refrain from political activities. Voice of America reported that Suu Kyi will make a trip to Bago, about 50 miles northeast of Yangon, this weekend to attend the opening of two libraries and to meet with political network groups.
Cho Cho Kyaw Nyein, a leader of the opposition Democratic Party, told The Irrawaddy magazine, “Without democracy in our country, we will work on together under the leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi.”
A recent high school graduate from Arkansas is suing her school district, claiming it refused to recognize her as the school's sole valedictorian because she is black.
Kymberly Wimberly, 18, earned the highest grade point average in McGehee Secondary School's 2011 graduating class. She did so as a young mother, according to the complaint she submitted to the U.S. District Court for Arkansas' Eastern District. She was named the school's valedictorian and then later given co-valedictorian status with a white student who had lower grades, her complaint says.
No legal response has been filed by lawyers for the school district or any other school or district representatives, according to court officials. Superintendent Thomas Gathen said he has yet to be served with any sort of court documents. Because of this, Gathen said he was unable to comment on several individual issues brought up in Wimberly's complaint.
"The issue that someone’s trying to paint is that this was a racially motivated," Gathen told CNN. "That wasn’t an issue with (the co-valedictorians). This is strictly an academic issue and a policy issue, not a racial issue."
Wimberly is seeking punitive damages of $75,000 and recognition as the sole valedictorian of her class. Wimberly's complaint also argues the McGehee school district, in southeastern Arkansas not too far from the Mississippi River, habitually withheld access to challenging classes from black students.
Wimberly said students were told at a schoolwide assembly that advance placement classes were very rigorous and that only those who really thought they would thrive with intense workloads should elect to take them. Then, individual students were taken aside and told that the classes really weren’t all that bad, she told CNN. The overwhelming majority of those students were white, she said, adding that she was the only black student in her AP literature class and one of two in calculus.
“Black students are meant to stay in regular course levels and mostly play sports,” Wimberly said. “That’s what were good at that that’s what we should stick to - that’s the mentality of McGehee.”
Wimberly said she had one teacher, for AP biology, who encouraged all students to take the class. Its racial makeup was half black, half white, and was more reflective of McGehee's student population, which is 46% black.
The case has been gaining increasing attention since Courthouse News Service reported on it Monday.
A divided federal appeals court has struck down Michigan's ban on consideration of race and gender in college admissions.
The issue is likely to renew the national political and legal debate over affirmative action, which the Supreme Court could be poised to resolve in coming months.
The 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Friday concluded in a 2-1 ruling that the voter-approved ban on "preferential treatment" at state colleges and universities was unconstitutional, and "alters Michigan's political structure by impermissibly burdening racial minorities."
China has released dissident artist Ai Weiwei on bail, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported Wednesday.
Ai, one of China's most successful and renowned artists, was on his way to Hong Kong in April when he was taken into custody amid a crackdown on dissidents, activists and religious groups across China.
Ai's Beijing studio was raided, and his wife and eight assistants were taken into custody for questioning.
Though Ai is widely regarded as a political prisoner, Beijing police told Xinhua last month — more than a month after taking him into custody - that Ai evaded a "huge amount" of taxes and that his company intentionally destroyed accounting documents.
Most famous for designing the Bird's Nest stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he later called for a boycott of the games because he said China was using them as propaganda.