Eyewitness News at 11: June 26, 2013

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< I was very excited. I texted my partner, and I was like, I'm cheering up right now. This is a kind of big day. I'm really glad we're here for this day. This is really awesome. >

Student Amanda Holliday...reacting to today's ruling from the Supreme Court...protecting same-sex spouses' rights to their partner's benefits.

Good evening everyone.

I'm Frank Malloy.

A momentous day, no matter which side of the same-sex marriage issue you're on...

And we'll hear opinions on both sides...including some of your own, in just a minute.

But first... It's been a busy two days for the nation's highest court .... Beginning with a ruling on the Voting Rights act...that some constitutional law specialists say clears the way for Macon and Bibb County's consolidated elections.

Let's take a look back.

As we said at the top of the show, Attorney General Sam Olens explained....the ruling on what's known as the defense of marriage act... Or DOMA... doesn't have a direct impact on Georgia.

This state has a law in the books...that defines marriage as an institution between a man and a woman.

Olens, a Republican who disagreed with the court on principal, wrote in a statement today, "the decision does not affect existing state definitions of marriage; in fact, it explicitly says that it is limited to marriages recognized by states as lawful."

There are thirteen states where same-sex marriage is legal right now, plus the district of Columbia...

Most of them are in the Northeast... Plus Minnesota, Iowa, Washington, and California.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For many gay americans...even in unaffected states...today was huge.

Amanda Holliday... is the president of the gay... Lesbian... Bisexual... Alliance at Wesleyan College.

She says she found out about the Supreme Court decision on the defense of marriage act via text.

She says looking down at the headlines... out of Washington on her phone... is a moment she'll never forget.

 

 

 

 

Amanda Holliday... is the president of the gay... Lesbian... Bisexual... Alliance at Wesleyan College.

She says she found out about the Supreme Court decision on the defense of marriage act via text.

She says looking down at the headlines... out of Washington on her phone... is a moment she'll never forget.

Holliday says although she doesn't personally want to get married... she excited for other gay people in states where gay marriage is legal.

Not everyone shares that view.

Earlier today in studio... I spoke with the Reverend Ronald Terry...of New Fellowship Baptist Church.

He says, while he respects people as individuals...and thinks everyone should honor the Court's authority....he personally holds a moral conviction about what marriage represents.

<marriage means more than two people loving each other. And it's about commitment. And my personal opinion is that it's between a man and a woman. But if somebody wants to love somebody, I think they're, you have that right, but you don't have the right to make me accept that as my views and my points of view. >

Darryl Morton...an attorney and Democratic activist, brought a different view to the table.

He compared today's decision to advances in African American civil rights fifty years ago.

gay folks who want to get married are not asking for something special or different. They're simply wanting the rights and benefits that heterosexual couples take for granted. And, you know, people who are loving, and committed, and want to take that commitment to the next level, to the level of marriage, I say we give them that opportunity. It's the right thing to do. >

And we've also been listening to you via social media...

Since the announcement this morning... People have taken to our facebook page to voice their opinions on the subject.

There were some who support the new rulings from the Supreme Court... And do not feel it imposes on their rights... Inside or outside of heterosexual marriage.

Stephanie Dunn Hightower says...

"I've been married over 15 years, and marriage is hard. Life is hard. And if you are fortunate enough to find someone who is willing to travel that journey with you... then good for you."

Others are opposed to the Supreme Court's decision... But have decided that they will not let their personal beliefs affect how they treat people.

For example... Cynthia Wilds says...

"I don't agree with it but I have learned to live with it. I will treat them just like everyone else but I don't have to like their choices."

You can join in the discussion on our facebook page... At facebook slash 13 WMAZ dot com.

Before gay marriage dominated the headlines...it was Section Five of the Voting Rights Act.

That's a part that required preclearance... Or approval by the department of justice... on anything affecting voting in certain southern states... Including georgia.

Yesterday the Supreme Court decided that process was unconstitutional.

Before the court's decision yesterday... The city of Warner Robins submitted documentation for preclearance... To increase the age and residency requirements to run for elected office.

Before the amendment... if you were over eighteen... and lived in the city for at least six months... You could run for elected office.

<some of the elected officials believe the ages were too young and that residency requirement was too short so under the recent agreements you have to be twenty-one to run for a city council seat twenty-three to run for mayor and had resided in the city for one year>

Because of the supreme court's decision... The city no longer has to wait for approval... So the increased age and residency will be in affect for elections this fall.

The Rainbow Center is a place where people with AIDS and HIV can find help.

But those services might end because of a lack of funding.

We reached out to the Center's director .. Michael Leon ... who declined to comment today.

But one woman told us...she and her neighbors recently got some bad news.

<it breaks my heart to know that anybody really cares, you know? And I need this place>

Brenda Darley is one of the residents at the rainbow center.

She and others take advantage of services at the center... such as free counseling and subsidized housing.

Darley said the officials at the shelter have told the people it must close by October... because they are having financial issues.

Many of the people at the center are hit hard by its closing.

We looked up the nonprofit financial records of the Central City Aids Network...which runs the Rainbow Center.

The last year available online was for 2010.

They show that the network made more than 8 hundred thousand dollars that year...mainly from grants and public contributions.

 

 

 

 

Delta Air lines finds itself in a different kind of financial crunch.

The Atlanta based airline has to pay 7 hundred and 50 thousand dollars in fines... For bumping passengers... And not first asking for volunteers... or offering them compensation.

If passengers do not volunteer to be bumped... The airline has to compensate them.

According to the Transportation Department... Delta has a widespread practice of not complying with how it handles bumping customers.

Delta representatives say they have been training employees on how to handle overbooked flights... And the incidents were isolated.

Some of the money can be used to purchase tablets to record passengers who volunteer to be bumped.

Delta was fined in 2009 for similar violations.

 

 

 

 

What would you do...if you won the lottery?

It's a question Georgians have been asking for two decades now.

The state's lottery program...which funds HOPE scholarships for college...and Pre-K programs...is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Today, Governor Nathan Deal praised one of his predecessors for establishing the popular program.

<it is a celebration of an idea that was born in the mind of our former Governor Zell Miller. This is a tribute to him. >

and as we go to break... Here are tonight's numbers.

Eyewitness News continues after this.

It's a new problem for this Facebook generation... Where to draw the line between personal and professional when it comes to social media.

But tonight, Rebecca Lindstrom with our sister station, WXIA, has the story of a student who says it wasn't her...but her school district...that crossed a line.

14

This is Chelsea Chaney. Yes, she's in a bathing suit standing next to a cardboard cut out of snoop dog. And yes, she posted this picture to her facebook page, where she thought only a circle of friends would have access.

12:50:14 I have basically pictures with friends, pictures from prom.

We got permission to show you the photo. But Chaney says Curtis Cearley, the technology services director for Fayette county schools, didn't and used it to humiliate her in a presentation to parents and peers at her high school.

12:35:50 I see my picture and my first and last name.

Right before it, a cartoon of a child, shocked to see her mom's old facebook page.

12:26:13 because her facebook page portrays her as a promiscuous abuser of alcohol.

Chaney wanted an assembly to clear up the district's actions, or a face to face apology. All she got was this letter. So she filed a lawsuit after graduation.

12:45:33 if you collect information from users, you will obtain their consent.

That's part of Facebook's privacy policy. Her attorney Pete Wellborn lists more than a dozen other reasons why they feel the district's action were illegal, citing some of its own policies around social media and privacy. The suit seeks two million dollars in damages.

12:22:27 her entire goal with this lawsuit is to make sure this doesn't happen again.

The school district says it can't comment, but court records show both Cearley and the district have tried to get the case dismissed. Cearley says in his defense, the photo was an open record and he shouldn't be responsible for her decision to post it. Rebecca Lindstrom, 11Alive news.

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