House sends marriage equality bill to Biden’s desk

The House on Thursday passed a bill to safeguard marriage equality, sending the measure to President Biden's desk and marking the first time Congress has provided federal protections for same-sex marriage. The legislation, titled the Respect for Marriage Act, passed in a 258-169-1 vote. Thirty-nine Republicans joined all Democrats in supporting the measure. The Senate...
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White House: Griner release was ‘difficult decision’ for Biden

President Biden made a difficult and painful decision to accept Russian terms for a one-for-one exchange to release American basketball star Brittney Griner, a senior administration official said Thursday, saying the Russians rejected U.S. efforts to also release imprisoned American Paul Whelan.  “This was not a situation where we had a choice of which American...
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Fox Host Swipes at Brittney Griner While Announcing Her Release

Fox Business NetworkMaria Bartiromo just couldn’t help but get in a dig at Brittney Griner’s patriotism while announcing her release from a Russian prison camp after close to a year in custody for carrying a miniscule amount of cannabis oil through the Moscow airport back in February.After interviewing a former FBI agent who questioned the “political motive” behind the Biden administration’s decision to swap Griner for the notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, Bartiromo shared her own prediction about how the WNBA star’s character might be affected by her harrowing experience.“I wonder if her stance on American freedom and liberty changes after what she went through, the horror show she had to face,” the Fox Business host said. “Of course, she did attack the national anthem in basketball back in the day.”Read more at The Daily Beast.
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Celine Dion’s ‘Very Rare’ Diagnosis Is No Joke

Gonzalo Fuentes/ReutersCeline Dion’s heartbreaking announcement that she was forced to pull out of her tour due to “a very rare neurological disorder” has sparked an outpouring of sympathy, shock—and flat-out confusion over what the hell stiff person syndrome is.While many may have initially found themselves wondering if the diagnosis was real, experts say the disease is no joke.Affecting between one and two people in a million, the “very rare disease” leaves the afflicted suffering progressive muscle stiffness and painful spasms, according to Johns Hopkins. “These symptoms can lead to difficulty walking and, over time, even greater disability,” Yale Medicine notes.Read more at The Daily Beast.
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‘Catastrophe for Paul’: Whelan Left Out of Griner Prisoner Swap

Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via GettyFormer U.S. Marine Paul Whelan was still stuck behind bars in Russia even as WNBA star Brittney Griner’s release sparked celebrations early Thursday. A lawyer for Whelan, who was sentenced to 16 years in June 2020 for what he described as bogus espionage charges, was quoted as telling Russia’s Interfax news agency that Whelan remains at his penal colony as talks on his release continue. Whelan’s name was initially floated as part of a potential prisoner swap for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, but with Bout’s release in exchange for Griner this week, it’s not clear if that leverage was lost.Read more at The Daily Beast.
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Brittney Griner Is Freed in Prisoner Swap With ‘Merchant of Death’

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Getty Brittney Griner was released by Russian authorities on Thursday as part of a prisoner swap deal after being held for nearly a year on drug charges.U.S. authorities have released Russian international arms dealer Viktor Bout to complete the swap. WNBA athlete Griner had been jailed in Russia following her arrest at Moscow airport in February after cannabis-derived oil was found in her luggage. CBS News first reported that the deal had been completed Thursday, with Russia’s Foreign Ministry confirming the exchange to RIA Novosti. The ministry said the swap took place at Abu Dhabi airport in the United Arab Emirates. In a tweet, President Joe Biden shared pictures of himself alongside Vice President Kamala Harris and Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, in the Oval Office. “Moments ago I spoke to Brittney Griner,” the post read. “She is safe. She is on a plane. She is on her way home.”Read more at The Daily Beast.
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