MONDAY, AUGUST 2 This week of defeated bigotry, redeemed states, and the overturning of California's doubly unconstitutional anti-gay-marriage amendment begins with an off-topic tale of intricate internet deception from the wilds of Wisconsin. That's where a 44-year-old woman accepted a work-from-home job offer and soon found herself at the center of an international weapons-smuggling ring. As ABC News reports, the woman was hired by a company calling itself Switzerland Watches, with whom she communicated only via e-mail. Her would-be job: receiving packages of clothing from around the U.S. and shipping the packages to Russian orphans. "The first five packages she received, which she was told to open and inspect, included items like diapers and baby clothing," reports ABC. "She was later told not to open the other boxes, which she assumed were also children's items." Unfortunately, her assumptions were wrong, and when an investigation of items purchased with stolen credit cards led police to the woman's home, they found 20 packages containing $15,500 worth of rifle and sniper scopes, night-vision equipment, GPS units, and camouflage clothing ready to be shipped to the Russian city of Novorossiysk, located between the Balkans and the Middle East. "If 'ABC Arms Dealer' in California sends a package with a rifle scope directly to Russia, that is going to raise a red flag and likely get stopped and searched," explained Ripon Police Department captain Bill Wallner to ABC News. "But a package being sent from a private citizen in Wisconsin might not get searched. That's why they were using her. They were paying her to change the packaging and address labels." As for the woman, who received $30 through PayPal for each package she received and reshipped—police believe she was an unwitting participant in the fraud and "probably won't be charged," says Wallner. The case now goes to the FBI, which will try to determine the size and identify the participants of the fraud ring.

TUESDAY, AUGUST 3 The week continues in Gulf Breeze, Florida, where a man has been charged with felony animal cruelty after allegedly killing a dog he believed was possessed by Satan. Details come from the Associated Press, which identifies the man as 25-year-old Matthew Foote and the dog as his family's 7-year-old dachshund-Chihuahua mix. On Sunday, cops found both man and dog at the Foote residence, where Matthew Foote calmly explained that, due to his dog's possession by Satan, he'd stabbed it, skinned it, and burned the body in a shallow grave. Contacted for a response, meth said, "No comment." RIP, unlucky dachshund-Chihuahua mix.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 4 In much better news: Today brought the day of judgment in the federal challenge to Proposition 8, California's voter-approved initiative restricting marriage rights to unions between one man and one woman. As Last Days and countless other people hoped, Proposition 8 was declared to be two types of unconstitutional, violating both due-process and equal-protection clauses, resulting in the proposition being overturned. Enabling today's hope-bestowing decision: a lack of evidence supporting the theory that extending marriage rights to same-sex couples would cause tangible harm to the institution of marriage, and a wealth of evidence supporting the theory that defenders of "traditional marriage" are fueled primarily by religion-based animus toward gays. As Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker wrote in his 136-page ruling: "The evidence shows conclusively that moral and religious views form the only basis for a belief that same-sex couples are different from opposite-sex couples. Rather than being different, same-sex and opposite-sex unions are, for all purposes relevant to California law, exactly the same." Immediately upon issuing his nation-improving ruling, Judge Walker stayed his decision, pending the forthcoming appeals of Prop 8 defenders, who, in the words of defense attorney Andrew Pugno, "simply wish to preserve the historic definition of marriage." Deep thanks to Judge Walker for making it official that "preserving the historic definition of marriage" may make a dandy hobby, but it's nothing that can trump equal rights for all Americans.

••Also: Today, President Obama took time out of his busy day of birthday celebrations to say nothing about today's historic ruling, leaving that chore to "The White House," which issued this bland blop: "The president has spoken out in opposition to Proposition 8 because it is divisive and discriminatory. He will continue to promote equality for LGBT Americans."

THURSDAY, AUGUST 5 The week continues with the filing of the aforementioned appeal of yesterday's ruling by Prop 8 defenders. "The appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was expected," reports the Associated Press, "as lawyers on both sides of the legal battle repeatedly vowed to carry the fight to a higher court if they lost." Hurrah. Onward.

••Also: Last week, Last Days told readers that "the powers that be at Target have refused to apologize for donating money to a politician linked to supporters of the biblically mandated death penalty for homosexuals, and no one should shop there until they do." Today, Last Days is happy to report that Target has apologized, with CEO Gregg Steinhafel announcing the company's institution of a review process for future political donations. Last Days encourages interested parties to resume shopping at any and all Target stores.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 6 Speaking of forgiving and moving on: Regular readers might recall that Last Days has a personal stake in the fate of Prop 8, being one half of one of the 18,000 same-sex couples married in California during that weird post–supreme court ruling/pre–Prop 8 window of opportunity. Making things extra-personal: Our better half is a former Mormon, from a family of still-active Mormons, for whom Prop 8 was a mindfuck. Some family members were so put off by the Mormon Church's mandatory rallying of the troops in support of the anti-gay Prop 8 that they, too, are now former Mormons. Others clenched down hard, letting an insistent "faith in the prophet" override their own sense of right and wrong. And while Wednesday's decision is certainly cause for hope and temporary celebration, for us it's almost secondary to the e-mail Last Days received from one of those long-estranged, Prop 8–supporting Mormon in-laws, who stated her case simply: "I deeply regret my participation in 'Yes on 8.' I did the wrong thing with the wrong motivation. I have explained that more fully with some of you and will try to do so with more of you, on a one-on-one basis. I am so sorry for what I did." Thank you times a million, penitent relative, and screw you, Mormon Church, whose millions of dollars of Prop 8 support could've been spent on approximately 10 billion worthier things.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 7 Nothing happened today, unless you count the birthdays of the United States War Department (established on this day in 1789), the South Ossetia war (launched by Georgia against invading Russians on this day in 2008), and American singer B. J. Thomas (who emerged from his grateful mother on this day in 1942).

SUNDAY, AUGUST 8 Ditto, unless you count the death days of American author and creator of the eternally terrifying "The Lottery" Shirley Jackson (who died on this day in 1965), American actress and Vertigo's invaluable she-dork Barbara Bel Geddes (who died on this day in 2005), and American "phone phreak" Joybubbles (who died on this day in 2007, and whose whole story is so odd and amazing that you should Google him right now).

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