· Governor Deval Patrick signs the bill repealing a 95-year-old statute that prevented out-of-state gay and lesbian couples from marrying in Massachusetts. Patrick, who is the state's first black governor and daughter recently came out as lesbian, says he was "happy" to repeal the 1913 law originally used to prevent inter-racial marriages. The repeal takes effect immediately, making Massachusetts the second state after California to allow same-sex couples to marry, regardless of residence.
· Officials at the Beijing Olympics will conduct "gender tests" on some female athletes. Arne Ljungqvist, chairman of the International Olympic Committee's medical commission, blasts the decision the procedure as "an unethical, unscientific and discriminatory practice."
· Former MTV executive Terrance Dean, author of the hot behind the scenes tell-all Hiding in Hip Hop which blows the lid off the down-low and the entertainment industry, is a guest on author Trent Jackson's talk radio show.
· BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York will now provide spousal health care benefits for legally married couples. The policy changes comes after a lawsuit filed by the NYCLU on behalf of a Buffalo lesbian couple that was married in Canada.
· More dramatic news to underscore the economic recession. Unemployment hits "a four-year high after employers trimmed 51,000 jobs. General Motors reports a massive second-quarter loss of $15.5 billion and the giant automakers shares "have skidded 60% in the year to date. ... GM acted to ease investor concerns two weeks ago, announcing plans to raise $ 15 billion in liquidity by cutting its dividend, reducing salaried costs and considering more asset sales."
· Stock in Blackberry manufacturer Research in Motion surges "thanks to a big upcoming product cycle. The BlackBerry Bold will be released overseas in early August and here in the States at the beginning of September. There is a tremendous amount of anticipation for this smartphone. An RBC survey showed 17% of potential buyers plan to buy the Bold, and almost three-quarters of them have never owned a BlackBerry before."
· Pennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down changes to the state's hate-crimes law that added sexual orientation and gender identity to protected classes.
· Poll: Majority of Americans believe the Bush Administration's troop
surge escalation is a success and want troops home. CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll finds "52 percent of Americans rate the surge as a success while 41 percent say it has been a failure. ... Meanwhile, 56 percent of Americans agree with the view that the number of troops in Afghanistan should be boosted as the number of troops in Iraq is reduced.
· California's PG & E utility company takes a major stand for marriage equality and donates $250,000 to fight Proposition 8. Company officials pledge to form a coalition of "other businesses around California to defeat the ballot initiative that would amend the state constitution to define marriage as only between a man and a woman."