Familiar headlines to watch out for in 2014

Between the Boston Marathon bombing and the first government shutdown in 17 years, 2013 was a year for the history books. Some of these events were resolved, but others are only beginning. Here’s a look at some stories from 2013 that were far from finished when the ball dropped on New Year’s Eve. We’ll definitely be seeing more of them.

The NSA files

Edward Snowden sent shockwaves through the world when he began releasing information about the NSA back in June. Through his leaks, citizens of the United States-and the world-learned about programs that collect social media data, phone data and more. Snowden may be on asylum in Russia, but his voice is still heard, and he undoubtedly established himself as one of the most influential figures of 2013.

However, Snowden isn’t the only one talking. Ever since the whistleblower began his work, the debate about privacy has been loud and impassioned, and it will likely get louder in 2014. The 21st century has brought questions about technology’s role in the government, and because of Snowden, people are demanding answers.

There’s long road ahead, one that must be traveled by all sides. But make no mistake: Snowden isn’t going anywhere, and people won’t stop talking about the NSA anytime soon.

Marriage equality

Advocates for marriage equality saw several victories in 2013. Six states including Illinois legalized same-sex marriage, and the Supreme Court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Additionally, a July 2013 Gallup poll found that 52 percent of Americans support a federal approval of same-sex marriage.

Going forward, the biggest case to watch out for is based in Utah. According to USA Today, a judge recently ruled that state officials can’t legally ban same-sex marriage, and opponents of the decision have asked U.S. Justice Sonia Sotomayor to intervene. She can make a ruling independently or involve the rest of the court, but either way, all eyes will be on the federal level to see how they handle their first decision on the matter since June.

It’s hard to say how close the United States is to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, but right now, the possibility is arguably more realistic than ever before. The momentum in 2013 was unprecedented, and these advocates aren’t slowing down.

Obamacare

Healthcare under the Affordable Care Act began Wednesday, and according to Politico, more than 2.1 million people have signed up through the new exchanges. However, Politico also reported that some plans weren’t finalized in time because of problems during the rollout. One day into the new year, and there’s already something to talk about.

Beyond that, the Affordable Care Act will more than likely continue to pop up in discussions. There are still happy politicians and angry politicians, and insurers and the insured will have even more to say now that the plans are going into effect (whether those comments will be good or bad remains to be seen). It was a big deal before, and it’s going to be an even bigger deal now.

Strap in, folks. 2014 is going to be an interesting one.