Among the big stories that made national headlines this year include a devastating tornado that wreaked havoc in Oklahoma and more states legalizing same-sex marriage. NY1's Cheryl Wills filed the following report.
This summer, civil rights groups erupted when the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that historical discrimination no longer justified parts of the law, which forced southern states like Texas and Mississippi to "preclear" changes to voting laws with the Department of Justice.
An EF5 tornado touched down in Moore, Okla. in May and wreaked havoc, devastating communities in its wake. Twenty-three people were killed as the violent storm stayed on the ground for 39 minutes, with 210-mile-per-hour winds. More than 1,000 homes were flattened, along with two public schools.
After the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre just days before Christmas last year, President Barack Obama joined the victims families of Newtown, Conn. to push for stricter gun laws. After a heated and emotional debate, the Manchin-Toomey Background Checks Bill failed to pass the U.S. Senate by six votes. The president and family members of the 20 children murdered called the failure of the bill "shameful."
Finally, there was a victory for those against the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. The Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples can now receive federal protections for health insurance, pensions and social security. This as 17 states and the District of Columbia now recognize same-sex marriage.