Baker faces complaint for refusing cake with anti-gay message

Written by The Associated Press Thursday, 22 January 2015 07:14

A dispute over a cake in Colorado raises a new question about gay rights and religious freedom: If bakers can be fined for refusing to serve married gay couples, can they also be punished for declining to make a cake with anti-gay statements?

A baker in suburban Denver who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding is fighting a legal order requiring him to serve gay couples even though he argued that would violate his religious beliefs.

State of the Union: The president's address

Written by Barack Obama Wednesday, 21 January 2015 06:46

The president delivers the State of the Union address.

President Barack Obama delivered the State of the Union address to Congress on Jan. 20 at the U.S. Capitol. The following is a transcript of his remarks, as provided by the White House. He began the speech at 9:10 p.m. EST and ended at 10:11 p.m. EST. 

Obama’s address to pitch tax proposals to help middle class

Written by JULIE PACE,
AP White House Correspondent
Monday, 19 January 2015 11:29

President Barack Obama is turning to his biggest television audience of the year to pitch tax increases on the wealthiest Americans and put the new Republican Congress in the position of defending top income earners over the middle class.

As Obama continues to signal what he will propose during the State of the Union policy address on Jan. 20, senior administration officials said that he will call for raising the capital gains rate on top income earners and eliminating a tax break on inheritances. The revenue generated by those changes would fund new tax credits and other cost-saving measures for middle-class taxpayers, officials said.

Biased, obsolete laws litter the books

Written by Louis Weisberg,
Staff writer
Thursday, 15 January 2015 14:14

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. subscribed to St. Augustine’s view of the law: “An unjust law is no law at all.” King was martyred during his fight to eliminate laws that treated people unjustly.

Abortion opponents push new bills in state legislatures

Written by David Crary,
AP National Writer
Thursday, 22 January 2015 07:02

Buoyed by conservative gains in the November 2014 election, foes of abortion are mobilizing on behalf of bills in several state legislatures that would further curtail women's access to the procedure.

On both sides of the debate, activists are highlighting their hopes and concerns in conjunction with today's 42nd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 that established a nationwide right to abortion. Since then, there have been more than 50 million abortions in the U.S.

Excerpts from the president's prepared State of the Union remarks

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Tuesday, 20 January 2015 17:45

President Barack Obama will deliver the State of the Union address tonight. Here are excerpts, as prepared for delivery and released by the White House:

“We are fifteen years into this new century.  Fifteen years that dawned with terror touching our shores; that unfolded with a new generation fighting two long and costly wars; that saw a vicious recession spread across our nation and the world.  It has been, and still is, a hard time for many.

Communities enact bans on GMO crops

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Thursday, 15 January 2015 19:07

A protest at the Jackson County Court House in Oregon.
— Photo: AP Photo/The Mail Tribune/Jamie Lusch

Two Oregon farmers are defending a local ordinance in federal court in a campaign to protect their harvests and create a zone free of genetically engineered crops.

Raising 2015
Minimum wage hike, other new laws take effect

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Thursday, 15 January 2015 14:10

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks about raising wages during the AFL-CIO National Summit. {break}— PHOTO: AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Minimum-wage workers in 20 states  — about 3.1 million people — saw a boost in their paychecks with the arrival of the new year.

Baldwin sponsors Women's Health Protection Act

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Wednesday, 21 January 2015 14:32

U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Tammy Baldwin and U.S. Reps. Judy Chu, Lois Frankel and Marcia Fudge are reintroducing the Women’s Health Protection Act, legislation to safeguard a woman's right to decide for herself whether to continue or end a pregnancy, regardless of where she lives.

The legislation was introduced on Jan. 21, on the eve of the 42nd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision recognizing a woman’s constitutional right to abortion.

Pope: Catholics need not breed 'like rabbits'

Written by The AP Tuesday, 20 January 2015 05:57

Pope Francis is firmly upholding church teaching banning contraception, but said on Jan. 19 that Catholics don't have to breed "like rabbits" and should instead practice "responsible parenting."

Speaking to reporters en route home from the Philippines, Francis said there are plenty of church-approved ways to regulate births. But he said most importantly, no outside institution should impose its views on regulating family size, blasting what he called the "ideological colonization" of the developing world.

Respect for Marriage bill reintroduced in Congress

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Thursday, 15 January 2015 14:18

Brandy Gardner, left, and her spouse Michelle Long-Gardner of Florida hold their marriage license and their two children.
— Photo: AP Photo/Northwest Florida Daily News/Nick Tomecek

The sunny day Floridians Joe Williams and Peter Rostenkowski skipped down the steps of their county courthouse with a marriage license in hand, a Florida congresswoman reintroduced legislation aimed at guaranteeing them access to full marriage benefits.

Denver-area church refuses memorial tribute with same-sex kiss

Written by The Associated Press Thursday, 15 January 2015 09:33

Family and friends of a recently deceased gay woman are upset after a Denver-area church that was about to host her memorial service refused to show a video that included images of the woman kissing her fiancee.

Gary Rolando, a chaplain contacted by the woman's family to officiate the service, said the funeral at New Hope Ministries in Lakewood was abruptly canceled and moved to a nearby funeral home after church officials insisted images of the couple kissing could not be shown in the ceremony.