- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Recent editorials from Tennessee newspapers:

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Jan. 4

The Commercial Appeal of Memphis on the marriage debate among Tennessee legislators:

It wasn’t shocking to read about an incensed Tennessee lawmaker holding forth on a recent Supreme Court ruling that extends a constitutional right to members of a minority group who have had that right heretofore denied. There are plenty of historical precedents.

This time it was state Rep. Rick Womick proposing in comments to a Murfreesboro newspaper that - harrumph! - if the high court is going to allow same-sex partners to get married, well, then, we just won’t issue marriage licenses in Tennessee to anybody. That’ll show ‘em.

The Rockvale Republican previously suggested the impeachment of Gov. Bill Haslam for not fighting the ruling and failing to urge county court clerks not to issue licenses to same-sex couples, although the state attorney general had said county clerks are obliged to do their duty.

Of course, aside from creating unflattering attention for themselves and the state, legislators blowing off steam on cultural issues do little harm.

And the General Assembly has, so far, sidestepped a suggestion to hold a special session to consider how to respond to the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on same-sex marriage in June.

That would likely create a terrible commotion, the likes of which the legislature hasn’t seen since the 1999-2002 legislative fight over a state income tax, in the opinion of former state Sen. David Fowler, who now heads the conservative Family Action Council of Tennessee.

Let’s hope no more time and energy is wasted on what would either be a losing battle or a public expression of homophobia.

We may be out of luck, though.

House Speaker Beth Harwell appointed a task force to review possible legislative action dealing with the issue, naming state Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mt. Juliet, as its “point person.”

Lynn has suggested that the state should get out of the marriage registration business. Marriage “was a construct of the church,” she was quoted as saying. “The only reason governments started registering marriages was so they had a record.”

Of course, it would accomplish nothing of real value to the public for the state to get out of the marriage business. In Fowler’s opinion, ministers with religious objections would be free under existing law to decline an invitation to solemnize a same-sex union.

For the state to get out of its obligation to license and register marriages would, however, create an annoying inconvenience for constituents of the legislators who are so incensed over the ruling.

Taking action on this issue would be nothing but a symbolic gesture.

Nothing about same-sex marriage has any impact on the status of marriages between members of the opposite sex.

If legislators have a problem with same-sex marriage, all they have to do is be careful not to marry someone of the same sex.

Online: https://www.commercialappeal.com/

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Jan. 4

The Jackson Sun on why Tennesseans should donate blood:

On Sunday, The Jackson Sun received a news release from LIFELINE Blood Services issuing a critical appeal for blood.

We hope people take heed of this and if able to, donate blood to help fellow Tennesseans.

The release stated that while all blood types are needed, type O and type B blood products are so low that there is a less than one day supply of these blood types for patients in local hospitals.

LIFELINE Blood services will be open extended hours this week and will host community blood drives throughout West Tennessee through Friday.

We wanted to remind blood donors of the LIFELINE guidelines:

.You must weigh at least 110 pounds and be at least 17 years old to donate.

.It is important to eat before giving blood. Do not give blood on an empty stomach.

.Your body replaces the blood volume donated within 48 hours. However, it takes up to eight weeks to replace your red cells. That is why you can only donate blood every eight weeks.

.Giving blood is safe and simple. There is no risk of contracting AIDS or any other disease by giving blood. Sterile needles and blood bags are used once and then discarded.

.The average male adult has about 12 pints of blood and an average female adult has 9 pints.

Also, to protect your identity and the safety of the blood supply, LIFELINE requires proof of identification.

According to the LIFELINE website, major reasons patients need blood are because of cancer, heart and blood vessel disease, disease of the gastrointestinal tract, emergencies such as car accidents and burns.

LIFELINE will be open today through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. If you cannot make it to LIFELINE, we encourage you to go to a community blood drives. LIFELINE is located at 183 Sterling Farms Drive in Jackson. Call (800) 924-6572 or (731) 427-4431 for more information.

Online: www.jacksonsun.com

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Jan. 5

The Knoxville News Sentinel on why the Navy and Marine personnel killed July 16 deserve Purple Hearts:

Shortly before Christmas, the FBI officially said the gunman who attacked U.S. Navy and Marine personnel in Chattanooga on July 16 was inspired by a foreign terrorist organization.

While the label of terrorism for the act that killed five servicemen and wounded another is hardly a surprise, the official designation is important because it means that all six will receive the Purple Heart. After the FBI announcement, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said the Navy would move forward immediately to award the medals.

The Purple Heart is the award given to military personnel from all branches of the service wounded in combat. However, the award also can be given to servicemen and service women killed or wounded in a domestic attack if the attack was inspired by a foreign terrorist organization. It is definitely deserved for these six who were serving their country in the finest tradition at the time of the attack.

FBI Director James Comey did not say what convinced the FBI that the shooter, 24-year-old Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez, was motivated by a foreign terrorist organization, except to note “there is competing foreign terrorist poison out there.”

The FBI earlier had said that Abdulazeez had spent several months living with an uncle in Jordan in 2014. He grew up in Chattanooga and had graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The FBI earlier had called him a homegrown violent extremist, and his family said he had problems with drugs and suffered from depression that kept him from holding a job.

Abdulazeez opened fire at two military sites in Chattanooga on July 16. His first target was a military recruiting center on Lee Highway, wounding Marine Sgt. DeMonte Cheeley. The shooter then proceeded to the U.S. Naval and Marine Reserve Center on Amnicola Highway. At that site, he killed Marines Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, Sgt. Carson Holmquist, Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Lance Cpl. Squire “Skip” Wells and Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith.

Within days after the FBI announcement, the Chattanooga Police Department released the names of the five officers involved in killing Abdulazeez in a gunfight at the Reserve Center. The department also officially ruled that the officers were justified in using deadly force.

The police encounter and gunfire exchange with Abdulazeez lasted only three to five minutes, the officers told The Chattanooga Times Free Press, but it seemed as though time was standing still. One officer was wounded in the exchange and was pulled to safety.

The police officers declined the title of “heroes,” claiming that hundreds of first responders and police would react exactly as they did at the deadly turn of events. Whether they accept the hero status, the officers definitely deserve the accolades they have received for stopping a terror attack in progress.

Shortly after the attack, U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, whose 3rd District includes Chattanooga, began the push for the servicemen to receive the Purple Heart. He said the decision to award the medals means the men will not be forgotten.

Indeed, they should not be forgotten - nor the act of terror that so violently took their lives while they were performing their duty to their country.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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