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By Kim Palmer CLEVELAND (Reuters) – Gay rights supporters in Ohio were given the go-ahead on Tuesday to begin gathering signatures to put a proposed state constitutional amendment to make same-sex marriage legal before voters as soon as November. Ohio banned gay marriage by state constitutional amendment in 2004 and does not recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states. The …
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Palestinian leaders threatened Tuesday to renew their diplomatic push at the United Nations if Israel fails to free Arab prisoners as scheduled this weekend. When US-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian peace resumed in July, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas agreed that, during their nine-month duration, he would shelve efforts to use the UN's November 2012 recognition of Palestine as a non-member …
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Alaa Abdel Fattah and Ahmed Abdel Rahman were detained for taking part in protests against military trials last November
SEASIDE, Ore. (AP) – Young Republican activists implored their party to support gay marriage Saturday, saying the GOP is destined to continue losing elections in Oregon if it doesnt get behind an issue thats gaining traction around the country.
Hoping to claw their way back to relevance, Republican activists and elected officials gathered at their annual three-day Dorchester Conference in Seaside to debate issues that divide the party. Gay marriage took center stage. Two lawsuits have been filed seeking to invalidate Oregons decade-old ban on same-sex marriage, and gay-rights activists say they have enough signatures to put a marriage question on the November ballot.
The activists voted 233-162 to support the gay-marriage initiative.
I believe this is a wedge issue that drives young people to the Democratic Party, and then they learn the rest of the Democratic agenda, said Jacob Vandever of Corvallis, who is running for a seat in the state House.
Conservatives have long argued that the government should stay out of peoples personal lives, and many activists said the logic should extend to gay marriage.
The government should get out of the business of telling me who I can love and who I should marry, said Kirk Maag, a gay Republican from Portland.
Others disagreed, saying nobody should abandon their own principles for the sake of the party. Some said even having the debate played into the hands of Democrats, who stand to benefit from a divided Republican Party.
If you continue to shake your fist in the face of the living God, youre in trouble, said Charles Starr, a former longtime legislator.
The GOP is struggling nationally to find its identity, and Oregon is no exception. As hundreds from the partys establishment and activist corps gathered at Dorchester, conservatives held a competing rally in Clackamas County to flex their muscles.
The Dorchester Conference began in 1965 when Bob Packwood, then a state representative, organized a meeting for Oregon Republicans to discuss the future of the party at Dorchester House in Lincoln City. It has grown into a tradition for Republican activists and a chance for them to meet elected officials and party officials. Packwood went on to defeat Democratic U.S. Sen. Wayne Morse in 1968 and stayed in the Senate for nearly 30 years.
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OAKLAND — Mayor Jean Quan pledged Thursday night to make Oakland streets safer and ensure that all residents benefit from a rebounding economy. In her final State of the City address before facing voters in November, Quan said Oakland was making strides against crime and presented her administration as the architect of the city’s post-recession economic turnaround. “The last few years I said we were rising,” Quan said
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INDIANAPOLIS The push to ban gay marriage in the Indiana Constitution passed the Indiana Senate 32-17 Monday, but opponents still claimed victory in delaying a public vote on the measure until 2016.
We can finally breathe a collective sigh of relief that lawmakers are finished with the amendment this session, and it will not appear on the ballot this November, said Megan Robertson, campaign manager for the coalition Freedom Indiana.
We were underdogs in this fight from the outset, but our success reflects the strength of the incredible coalition we were able to build in just six months. Every Hoosier who made a phone call, wrote a letter, sent an email, showed up at the Statehouse or helped oppose HJR3 in another way should be proud today.
Five Republicans voted against the proposal, and all northeast Indiana senators supported the measure.
House Joint Resolution 3 defines marriage as between one man and one woman. Indiana law already says that, but some believed constitutional protection was needed.
The House earlier this session removed the second sentence banning anything substantially similar to marriage, including civil unions.
If the language had remained, Hoosiers could have voted on the measure in November.
But now the process to amend the Constitution restarts requiring another separately elected legislature to approve the same language in 2015 before a public vote in 2016.
Nothing the state does can stop a federal judge from deciding gay marriage bans violate the U.S. Constitution.
Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, sponsor of the resolution, said the Senate has approved the language in varying forms six times.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Opponents of same-sex marriage have spent more than a decade working to ensure that Indiana stayed true to its conservative roots by strengthening its stance against gay unions. But in a year that was expected to bring a crucial victory, they find themselves facing a strong headwind.
Federal courts have overturned gay marriage bans in Oklahoma and Utah and the state Supreme Court did so in New Mexico. Nineteen states now allow gay marriage or civil unions.
Even in Indiana, support for a proposed amendment that would insert the state’s ban on gay marriage into the constitution is wavering amid concerns about its impact on businesses’ ability to attract top workers and offer domestic partner benefits.
Impassioned supporters of the ban aren’t daunted. For them, the issue isn’t about business needs or discrimination. It’s about faith and values that they say would be compromised if Indiana doesn’t take the extra step to ensure marriage can be between only a man and a woman.
“I believe we need to reinforce marriage and define marriage … or we are going to open up through sexual anarchy all types of confusion in our country, especially with what’s happening with our young people,” Ron Johnson, executive of the Indiana Pastors Alliance, told a House committee during a recent hearing on the amendment.
Indiana has long been a champion of conservative causes, from right-to-work legislation to restrictions on abortion. Lawmakers launched the nation’s broadest school voucher program and have cracked down on illegal immigration in recent years. But it lacks the reputation as a hotbed of social or religious conservatism that other, mostly southern, states have.
Only 46 percent of Indiana residents considered themselves “very religious” in a Gallup report published at the start of the month, said Gallup Polls editor in chief Frank Newport. That’s lower than Mississippi’s 61 percent and well above Vermont’s 22 percent, the lowest in the nation. The national average was about 41 percent.
Indiana’s status in the middle of the pack could be compounding the fight over the gay marriage amendment, which passed with broad bipartisan support in 2011 but must pass again this year to be placed on the November ballot.
Recent polls have shown increasing numbers of Indiana voters oppose a constitutional ban, even though most still oppose gay marriage. And even lawmakers who supported the ban in 2011 are questioning whether it would be better to let the issue die instead of putting the state in what’s likely to become a protracted legal battle. Activists on both sides of the issue say the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately will decide the issue for Indiana and other states.
“When I cast this vote to support this measure in 2011 it was one of the easiest votes I ever cast,” said Rep. Kevin Mahan, R-Hartford City. “I believe in marriage between one man and one woman and my constituents overwhelmingly did as well.”
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INDIANAPOLIS The Indiana House of Representatives voted 57-40 on Tuesday in support of House Joint Resolution 3 which aims to constitutionally ban gay marriage in the state.
Although gay marriage is already not recognized in Indiana, the addition of this amendment to the state’s constitution could potentially make marriage equality more difficult in the future.
The vote in support of HJR 3 came just one day after a bipartisan vote by Representatives of 52-43 to remove a sentence addressing civil unions from this amendment. As it was passed by the House, the amendment reads, Only a marriage between one (1) man and one (1) woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana.
The second sentence of this amendment, which was removed by the House vote, read, A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized. This sentence applies to civil unions and similar arrangements.
Rep. Eric Turner, R-Cicero, who authored the amendment, believes it should have been voted on as it was originally drafted. He told the Associated Press, I believe the HJR 3, as written, is the right public policy for the state of Indiana. The second sentence simply prevents marriage by any other name.”
Rep. Tom Dermody, R-La Porte, voted in favor of HJR 3 and against Monday’s vote to remove the second sentence.
As the vote now moves to the State Senate, however, the sentence could be added back in before the public has a chance to vote on the issue.
The process to amend the state constitution requires that the resolution be approved in back-to-back sessions of the General Assembly before it can be voted on by the public. This means that the earliest the issues could be presented to Indiana voters would be during the November 2016 election.
Consider that the measure still must pass through the mysterious ways of the Indiana Senate. Just as the second sentence was removed in the Indiana House, it certainly can be put back into HJR 3 by our state senators, which means we will be right back at square one on this issue, Pelath said.
But even if the Senate finds favor with the will expressed on Monday by a bipartisan group of House members, there remains one inescapable fact. This disturbing and nationally embarrassing debate will continue to consume our energies, he said.
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The Mayor of London, who campaigned for election on the promise of keeping ticket offices open, now plans to close them as part of the 12.5% cut in the budget of London Underground (LU) announced on 21 November. The intention of London Underground is to create a self-service, supermarket model, and that means all Ticket Officesare due to close by 2015
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