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United for Marriage: Light the Way to Justice rallies are being planned for Washington, D.C., and all 50 states as LGBT citizens and allies celebrate the Supreme Court taking up two major cases this week.

The United for Marriage Coalition consists of civil rights, religious and political leaders and their plans are for more than 150 events on March 26, the first day of the two days of hearings before the high court. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on two marriage-related cases – one challenges the federal Defense of Marriage Act that bars the government from recognizing same-sex marriages and one challenges the California constitutional amendment against gay marriages.

Anti-gay Austrian priest barred from preaching Easter Mass

Written by The Associated Press Monday, 25 March 2013 09:14

Austria's Roman Catholic church is forbidding a priest from preaching to his flock at Easter Mass because of his comments against gays and Muslims.

The move comes after the priest, Karl Tropper, described homosexuality as “perverse,” in a recent newspaper interview.

North Dakota lawmakers vote to ban all abortion, even to save mother's life

Written by The Associated Press Sunday, 24 March 2013 07:27

North Dakota lawmakers moved Friday to outlaw abortion in the state by passing a bill defining life as starting at conception.

The bill is one of a series of anti-abortion measures the Republican-controlled Legislature has passed this year despite critics’ insistence that they are unconstitutional and violate a landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing abortion until a fetus considered viable, which is usually at 22 to 24 weeks.

Cameroon torturing, raping gays and lesbians

Written by AP Friday, 22 March 2013 11:24

People suspected of being gay in Cameroon say they have been tortured and raped in prison, according to a report released this week by Human Rights Watch and three local organizations.

The 55-page report, titled "Guilty by Association," documents reported abuses by authorities prosecuting suspected gays and lesbians. Those convicted can face up to five years in prison in Cameroon.

Former Mississippi governor regrets signing law against adoptions by gay couples

Written by The Associated Press Monday, 25 March 2013 13:40

Former Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove says he now regrets signing a state law in 2000 that bans same-sex couples from adopting children.

Utah restaurants fill Scout-O-Rama funding void

Written by AP Monday, 25 March 2013 09:06

A handful of Utah restaurants are filling a lunch-money void for an upcoming Boy Scout conference after Chipotle Mexican Grill pulled its sponsorship of Scout-O-Rama due to the organization’s long-standing ban on gays.

The Colorado-based chain pulled its pledge of $4,200 worth of coupons last week.

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear vetoed a bill yesterday that LGBT civil rights supporters said would allow homophobes to openly discriminate against gays.

The Associated Press reported that the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Bob Damron, D- Nicholasville, would push for a legislative override before the Legislature adjourns on Tuesday. The bill, which protects “sincerely held religious beliefs” from infringement unless there is “a compelling governmental interest,” passed on overwhelming bipartisan support.

Anti-Defamation League imagines world without hate in new video

Written by WiG Friday, 22 March 2013 10:53

The Anti-Defamation League is launching a major public awareness initiative with an 80-second public service video that imagines the contributions that victims of high-profile hate crimes might have made to society had their lives not been brutally cut short by racism, homophobia or anti-Semitism.

Set to John Lennon’s “Imagine,” the video pays tribute to the lives of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., hate crime victims Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr., Holocaust-era diarist Anne Frank, former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and slain Journalist Daniel Pearl by imagining their impact on society had they survived into the present day.

Wisconsin lawmaker wants open season on woodchucks

Written by The Associated Press Monday, 25 March 2013 10:24

Deer, bears, wolves, mourning doves, even wild pigs – if it walks, crawls or flies in Wisconsin, hunters can probably shoot it. Now a state lawmaker wants to declare open season on one more animal: the wily woodchuck.

State Rep. Andre Jacque, R-De Pere, is putting the finishing touches on a bill that would remove woodchucks from Wisconsin's protected species list and allow people to kill an unlimited number of woodchucks during a season that would run nearly year-round. Jacque said woodchucks don't deserve protected status because they're abundant and a nuisance.

Dean of National Cathedral appears in same-sex marriage ad

Written by Brett Zongker,
AP writer
Sunday, 24 March 2013 11:42

The dean of Washington National Cathedral is speaking out in support of gay marriage in a new advertisement airing in advance of next week’s Supreme Court arguments on same-sex marriage.

The Respect for Marriage Coalition, which advocates for gay marriage rights, announced its newest ad entitled “Journey” on March 22. It comes as several new public opinion polls show greater support for same-sex marriage than just a few years ago.

Canada's House of Commons votes for transgender rights bill

Written by AP Friday, 22 March 2013 14:31

Canada's House of Commons has passed a bill that would make it illegal to discriminate against transgender people.

The bill now goes to the Senate, which is unelected and is expected to approve it.

Study finds 2 in 3 hate crimes unreported

Written by The Associated Press Friday, 22 March 2013 08:18

Despite growing awareness of hate crimes, the share of those crimes reported to police has fallen in recent years as more victims of violent attacks express doubt that police can or will help.

Nearly 2 of 3 hate crimes go unreported to police, the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics reported this week. For the years 2003-06, 46 percent of hate crimes were reported to police. But more recently, in 2007-11, just 35 percent were reported.