Pope Francis told reporters the Catholic Church owes an apology to the LGBT community and any other groups that have been marginalized. Asked by journalists on a plane from Armenia earlier this week if he agreed with an adviser who said the gay community deserves an apology, he suggested that the church should not be judging the groups it doesn’t agree with. “We must accompany them,” he said. “The church must not only apologize... to a gay person it offended, but we must apologize to the poor, to women who have been exploited, to children forced into labor, apologize for having blessed so many weapons.”
The Supreme Court struck down highly restrictive Texas regulations that would have closed most abortion clinics in the state in a 5-3 decision yesterday morning. The decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt means a lower court’s decision upholding the law is reversed. Writing the majority opinion, Justice Breyer says: “We conclude that neither of these provisions offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes. Each places a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion, each constitutes an undue burden on abortion access.” Breyer continued attacking the law, which was practically all but an explicit ban on abortion. “More fundamentally, in the face of no threat to women’s health, Texas seeks to force women to travel long distances to get abortions in crammed-to-capacity superfacilities.”
The law, known as HB2, had required abortion providers in the state to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers; required clinics to be within 30 miles of a hospital; and requires abortion doctors have admitting privileges at those hospitals. The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals found the law does not place an “undue burden” on women’s reproductive rights because the state has proved it has a compelling interest in regulating clinics to protect women’s health. The court disagreed. The stringent requirements would have the effect of closing most abortion providers in Texas. Several other states, including neighboring Louisiana, sought to enact similar laws and will now be unable.
Yesterday, Donald Trump has walked back his original calls for a complete ban on Muslims entering the U.S., telling reporters in Scotland that he would be comfortable with a Scottish Muslim wanted to come to the U.S. He later told a CNN reporter that he only wants to ban Muslims who come from "the terror states." Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, garnered international attention last year when he said all foreign Muslims should be barred from entering the U.S. until we can "figure out what is going on." As one reporter noted, that position is still expressed on Trump's campaign website.
David Cameron, the British prime minister, has announced that he will resign following a humiliating defeat in a referendum on Britain’s membership in the European Union. Cameron’s voice cracked with emotion as he revealed he would stand down before the Conservative party conference in October, following a 48-52 defeat in the referendum that he himself called. Sterling fell overnight to a 30-year low on the news, and the FTSE 100 fell 8.5 percent at its opening, the biggest one-day drops in recent history. Cameron, who just over a year ago was returned triumphantly to 10 Downing Street with an overall majority in the general election, said he had already told the queen of his decision. Cameron said: “The British people have voted to leave the EU and their will must be respected… There can be no doubt about the result.” He said that charting a new relationship with Europe would “require strong, determined, and committed leadership,” adding, “I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain to take the country to its next destination.”
A Republican running for Congress in Florida wants to give away an assault rifle on Independence Day. Greg Evers, in the Florida legislature since 2001, announced the contest to give away an AR-15 rifle on his Facebook page Monday, saying he felt it was necessary to “protect our homeland” in the age of terrorism. Evers’ contest comes just days after 49 people were killed by an AR-15 in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history in Orlando, and amid increased calls for gun control by Democrats. All gun lovers have to do to win the contest is like and share Evers’ Facebook page, and the lucky winner will be chosen at random on July 4.
Vice President Joe Biden will say presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s foreign-policy ideas could send the U.S. down an irreversible path of isolationism and bigotry. In a speech to be delivered tomorrow, Biden will offer a rebuttal to Trump’s controversial ideas on immigration, terrorism, and the U.S.’s relationship with Russia. “Wielding the politics of fear and intolerance, like proposals to ban Muslims from entering the United States or slandering entire religious communities as complicit in terrorism, calls into question America’s status as the greatest democracy in the history of the world,” Biden is expected to say, according to remarks made available to reporters before the speech. “If we build walls and disrespect our closest neighbors, we will quickly see all this progress disappear, replaced by a return of anti-Americanism and a corrosive rift throughout our hemisphere,” he will say.
Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy ended his nearly 15-hour filibuster early today after Republican leaders allegedly agreed to allow votes on two potential gun-control bills. Murphy said he felt satisfied with the compromise, after vowing to stand and speak “until we get some signal, some sign that we can come together.” The two measures that will be voted on involve whether to expand background checks at gun shows and online sales, as well as whether to ban those on the terrorist watch list from obtaining gun licenses. “We did not have that commitment when we started today,” Murphy said. During the filibuster, he discussed mass shootings, background checks, and banning gun sales to those on watch lists. Murphy said, “I can’t tell you how hard it is to look into the eyes of the families of those little boys and girls who were killed in Sandy Hook and tell them that almost four years later, we’ve done nothing, nothing at all to reduce the likelihood that that will happen again to another family.” Murphy spoke for 14 hours and 50 minutes, revitalized in his effort by Sunday’s mass shooting in Orlando that killed 49 people and injured 53 others. “I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough of the ongoing slaughter of innocents, and I’ve had enough of inaction in this body,” Murphy said.
A female Dutch tourist was charged with adultery in Doha, Qatar, after reporting to authorities that she’d been raped. The woman, who was not identified, had spent three months in detention before being sentenced to a fine and a one-year suspended sentence yesterday. She was, however, allowed to leave the country and return home. A representative for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Dutch ambassador was assisting the woman and that the Dutch Embassy in Doha had been involved in the case from the very beginning.
“Attacks on any American, regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation, is an attack on all of us and on the fundamental values of integrity and dignity that help us as a country,” President Barack Obama said Sunday afternoon of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando. “The FBI is appropriately investigating this as an act of terrorism,” the president continued, “and I’ve directed that we must spare no effort to determine what, if any, inspiration or association this killer may have had with terrorist groups. What is clear is that he was a person filled with hatred.”
The accused shooter, Omar Mateen, killed 50 people and injured at least 53 others. It is believed that Mateen had pledged allegiance to ISIS, and was twice investigated by the FBI. According to CBS News’s Mark Knoller, this was at least the 20th time Obama has spoken following a shooting. When speaking about the Oregon community-college shooting in October 2015, an exasperated Obama said gun violence was worse that terrorism. “Our thoughts and prayers are not enough,” he said at the time. “It does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted somewhere else in America—next week or a couple of months from now.”
The judge who triggered a major public outcry after issuing a six-month sentence in the Stanford rape case has received numerous death threats following his decision. Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky has faced a massive backlash for handing down the sentence to 20-year-old student Brock Turner last week—a prison term that has been slammed as far too lenient for the crime. Prosecutors had demanded a six-year sentence for the 2015 rape, in which Turner assaulted a fellow college student while she was unconscious. But Persky said “a prison sentence would have a severe impact” on Turner, who is also a competitive swimmer.
Hillary Clinton has enough support from pledged delegates and superdelegates to be declared the Democratic presidential nominee, according to an updated tally from the AP. News service officials determined she reached the necessary number of 2,383 delegates; previously, Clinton was expected to secure it without the recent tally including superdelegates by Tuesday, when New Jersey and California vote. Bernie Sanders’s campaign called the announcement a “rush to judgment,” saying they still hope to persuade superdelegates to back the Vermont senator as “by far the strongest candidate against Donald Trump.”
An award-winning photojournalist for National Public Radio was killed today after the vehicle he was traveling in came under fire in southern Afghanistan. David Gilkey, a veteran war reporter, died in the attack in Helmand province along with his translator, Zabihullah Tamanna. They had been embedded with an Afghan military unit. Two other NPR journalists escaped from the attack unscathed. A statement from NPR praised his work and said he had “witnessed some of humanity’s most challenging moments” throughout his career and had died pursuing a commitment to make the world see what really happens during war.
The Republican National Committee’s head of Hispanic media relations will resign later in June over apparent discomfort with Donald Trump’s ascendancy to the party’s nomination. Ruth Guerra, a bilingual spokeswoman of Mexican descent, was charged with delivering the GOP message to Hispanic voters, and allegedly told several colleagues this year that she is uncomfortable working for Trump. She will join the American Action Network, a Republican-aligned super PAC that will spend largely on congressional races.