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Same-sex marriage has been legalized in 4 states and proposed in several others, but it's a long way from becoming a US institution. We talk about Constitutional rights, religious objections and political calculations. Also, today's UN racism conference sparks protests, and the horrors of war and the intimate brutality of torture. Is one worse than the other?

Banner image: New York Governor David Paterson announces his intention to introduce a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in the state of New York April 16, 2009. Standing at the podium with Paterson the openly gay speaker of the New York City Council Chrstine Quinn (R). Photo: Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Same-Sex Marriage

Jonathan Rauch

Making News UN Racism Conference Sparks Protests 6 MIN, 4 SEC

In Switzerland, at today's UN conference on racism, delegates walked out of a speech by Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. They were protesting his characterization of Israel's government as "racist." Laura MacInnis reports from Geneva for Reuters.

The Future of Marriage

David Blankenhorn

Main Topic Same-Sex Marriage: The Law, Religion and Politics 36 MIN, 30 SEC

Only four states have legalized same-sex marriage, and it's pending in just a handful of others. Forty states limit marriage to a man and a woman. But public opinion supports civil unions for gays and lesbians, and voters aged 18 to 45 are favorably inclined toward homosexual rights. Does the Constitutional guarantee of equal treatment include same-sex marriage? Are religions free to discriminate as they choose? How does the issue work for — and against — Democrats and Republicans?

Jennifer Pizer, UCLA
Peter Sprigg, Vice President for Policy, Family Research Council
Jonathan Rauch, Brookings Institution (@jon_rauch)
David Blankenhorn, Founder and President, Institute for American Values

Reporter's Notebook The Intimate Brutality of Torture versus the Horror of War 6 MIN, 18 SEC

Today's New York Times reports that two suspected terrorists were subjected to water-boarding a total of 266 times, far more often than previously reported. President Obama calls that torture and says it's unworthy of the United States. But what about Hellfire missiles from Predator drones that kill not just terrorist targets but innocent bystanders as well? Scott Shane is national security writer for the New York Times.

Scott Shane, New York Times (@ScottShaneNYT)

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