From the Vatican with love. Pope Francis gave thousands of couples his advice for a lasting marriage today, saying they should always remember three simple words: “Please, thanks, and sorry.” The pope invited 25,000 people who are engaged to St. Peter’s Square for a Valentine’s Day assembly. He told them expressions of courtesy, gratitude, and contrition go a long way toward conserving and enhancing love over time. “Today, many people are afraid to make lasting choices,” Francis said. “Making choices that last your whole life seems impossible but it can be done.”
Cruz defends marriage. U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, have introduced a bill that attempts to turn the tide engulfing state marriage laws. This past week, federal judges, citing precedent set by the U.S. Supreme Court last summer, overturned laws in Kentucky and Virginia that banned same-sex marriage. (Kentucky’s in-state ban remains in place, but the state must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.) Those decisions followed similar cases in Utah and Oklahoma, and a ruling on the issue is expected soon in Texas. The Cruz-Lee bill, called the State Marriage Defense Act, would correct, “inconsistencies among federal agencies” that look to state laws when deciding whether a couple is married. The Obama administration, however, has been quite consistent lately in its insistence on recognizing gay marriage in all states. Last weekend Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department would recognize all same-sex marriages in federal courts, regardless of local law.
Flip-flop? State Sen. Wendy Davis, the Democrat who famously filibustered a Texas abortion law, recently told The Dallas Morning News she would support a 20-week abortion ban under certain conditions. She wants to see exceptions to the ban for fetal abnormalities or the health of the mother. Though the law, now in effect in Texas, allowed for those exceptions, Davis said it was too restrictive in defining them. She thinks doctors and patients should have more leeway in deciding whether an abortion is justified after 20 weeks. In other words, she would support a ban that could be easily brushed aside by patients and doctors, which really isn’t a ban at all. Her statements led to public confusion about her stance, increasing the PR woes that started after she acknowledged inconsistencies in her biography.
Gender menu. Yesterday Facebook upped its gender options for user profiles from the basic two to at least 56. Slate published a comprehensive list of choices, which includes bigender, transgender, pangender, gender fluid, and a bunch of choices we didn’t know existed. (Did you know that “Trans Female” and “Trans* Female” are different? Neither did we.) Jeff Johnston, an issues analyst for Focus on the Family, boiled it down to something simpler, saying, “Of course Facebook is entitled to manage its wildly popular site as it sees fit, but here is the bottom line: It’s impossible to deny the biological reality that humanity is divided into two halves—male and female.”