Bush backs House Speaker over Foley coverup
WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush and other leading Republicans are backing House Speaker Dennis Hastert after he announced he would not resign over his handling of the Foley scandal.
As the Republican party prepares to defend its control of Congress in the Nov. 7 mid-term elections, its luminaries are rallying to support Republican Dennis Hastert amid allegations that he did not do enough to protect male teenage House interns. Hastert has refused to resign.
Poll: Ohioans want candidates to keep religious views private
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Most registered voters in Ohio – 59 percent – say they want candidates for governor to keep their religious beliefs to themselves, according to a newspaper poll published Sunday.
Overall, 90 percent of respondents said religion is important in their lives, and 66 percent said it’s important that candidates have strong religious beliefs. But only 41 percent said they wanted candidates publicly discussing those views.
Judicial nomination held up over same-sex ceremony
WASHINGTON – A judge’s elevation to the federal bench could be derailed because she helped preside over a commitment ceremony for a lesbian couple four years ago.
Republican Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas has placed a hold on the nomination of Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Janet T. Neff, saying her presence at the 2002 Massachusetts ceremony raises questions about her judicial philosophy.
The Senate Judiciary Committee last week approved Neff for a seat on the U.S. District Court in Michigan’s Western District, and the nomination is pending before the full Senate.
In Michigan, Neff is running unopposed for another six-year term in the appeals court’s 3rd District, which includes southwestern Michigan plus Jackson and Livingston counties.
Harris says Democratic incumbent’s policies are anti-Christian
ORLANDO, Florida – Republican Senate hopeful Katherine Harris says Florida’s Democratic incumbent supports un-Christian political policies.
This summer, Harris told the Florida Baptist Witness newsletter that Christians should be involved in politics because otherwise legislative bodies would “legislate sin,” and that the separation of church and state is “a lie we have been told.” The comments caused a stir among Democrats and many Republicans, as well as some Christians.
NY plan allows birth records sex switch
NEW YORK – The city wants to make it easier for transgender New Yorkers to switch the sex listed on their birth certificates. The new plan would let birth records reflect the new gender for the first time. It would also allow changes for people who hadn’t had genital surgery, but could show substantial proof that they have undertaken other steps to irrevocably alter their gender-identity.
R.I. lesbian couple weds in Mass.
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – A lesbian couple from Rhode Island who won the right to marry in Massachusetts held their ceremony Sunday.
After being denied a marriage license in Massachusetts, Wendy Becker and Mary Norton challenged a 1913 state law that prohibits out-of-state residents from marrying if the union would not be permitted in their home state.
Rhode Island Gov. Don Carcieri, a Republican and marriage opponent, said that he has no plans to try to revise the state’s laws.
Marriage advocates vow to appeal California court ruling
SAN FRANCISCO – Marriage advocates vowed to appeal a state appeals court ruling upholding California’s ban on equal marriage.
In reversing the March 2005 ruling of a San Francisco trial judge, the 1st District Court of Appeal on Thursday dealt another setback to the movement to expand equal marriage beyond Massachusetts. The case is being appealed to the state Supreme Court.
Mass. Episcopal diocese to vote on halt to performing marriages
BOSTON – The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts is scheduled to vote later this month on a resolution to stop performing marriages.
The resolution would declare the convention’s desire that Episcopal marriages be presided over by an agent of the state such as a justice of the peace beginning in 2008. Episcopal clergy would limit their role to blessing the married couple. The system is in place now for gay couples.
“I feel this is a way to equalize an inequity in what Episcopal clergy can do for gay folks and straight folks,” the Rev. Margaret (Mally) E. Lloyd told The Boston Globe.
“Right now, we can only offer blessings for gay folks who are married, and it’s not fair,” she said.
Canadian-wed lesbian couple launch suit seeking marriage rights in Ireland
DUBLIN, Ireland – A lesbian couple who were legally married in Canada launched a landmark lawsuit Tuesday seeking to win the same legal rights and financial benefits as married heterosexuals in Ireland.
They are the first gay couple in Ireland to go to court to seek state recognition of a foreign marriage.