WATCH: Rachel Maddow's Five Best Moments From Last Week's Historic Rulings on Civil Rights

WATCH: Rachel Maddow's Five Best Moments From Last Week's Historic Rulings on Civil Rights

In case you've been living under a rock, last week was kind of a big deal in terms of civil rights. While the Supreme Court issued landmark rulings supporting the freedom to marry, it also dealt a serious blow to the Voting Rights Act. And on a more local level, contentious fights about reproductive rights took center stage in the legislatures in Texas and Ohio. 

MSNBC's out anchor extraordinaire, Rachel Maddow, was on fire last week, bringing her characteristic wit, clarity, and snark to each of these major issues. Get up to speed on everything you need to know from SheWired's favorite out newsperson. 

Let's start at the beginning. On Thursday, Maddow broke down just what the Supreme Court did with California's Prop. 8 and the so-called Defense of Marriage Act on Wednesday. Let Dr. Maddow school you below.


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Like the rest of the country, Maddow was caught off-guard when a federal appeals court issued a surprise ruling Friday afternoon confirming that after the Supreme Court struck down Proposition 8 on a technicality, same-sex marriages could resume in California immediately. Here's how it happened, along with highlights from the first legal same-sex weddings performed in California, appropriately between the plaintiffs who challenged Prop. 8 in court. 

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On NBC's Meet the Press this Sunday, Maddow squared off with former Republican senator Jim DeMint, who currently heads the antigay Heritage Foundation, as he was backed up by Ralph Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition, who now heads the Faith and Freedom Coalition. Maddow, along with host David Gregory, did an impressive job of holding the right-wingers' feet to the fire as they played fast and loose with the facts. 

Shutting down DeMint's fallacious argument that one-man-one-woman marriage is best for children, Maddow called out the haters. "You guys for a generation have argued that public policy ought to demean gay people as a way of expressing disapproval of the fact that we exist," said Maddow in one of several excellent takedowns. "But you don’t make any less of us exist, you are just arguing for more discrimination. And more discrimination doesn’t make straight people’s lives any better." 

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While gay and lesbian Americans were (rightfully) celebrating this important victory in our ongoing fight for full federal equality in the wake of historic Supreme Court rulings, the nation's highest court also essentially gutted the long-standing Voting Rights Act. Almost immediately, states like Texas began implementing strict voter ID laws that disproportionately effect LGBT people, people of color, the poor, and folks who generally vote Democratic. Maddow has an impressive breakdown of just how major this ruling was, and how it's already impacting deep-red states. Watch it below. 

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On the reproductive rights front, one Texas senator took a stand for a restrictive anti-abortion bill that would have closed all but five abortion clinics in the state. Last week, state Sen. Wendy Davis filibustered the bill for an impressive 13 hours, during which she was not allowed to lean, eat, drink, or use the bathroom. When she was eventually forced from the Senate floor by Republicans procedural maneuvering, other female senators and observers in the chamber successfully stalled the vote by shouting "Let her speak!" until the clock ran out on the bill. 

Maddow notes that while staunchly partisan legislation is making its way through both blue and red states at the moment, those red states seem to be obsessed with regulating a woman's body. Check out her comprehensive dissection of surreptitious GOP tactics at play in several states to essentially revoke Roe v. Wade.


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