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Republicans say party needs to get with the times

Written by AP Monday, 19 November 2012 07:05

To hear some Republicans tell it, their party needs to get with the times.

Some of the early prescriptions offered by officials and operatives to rebuild after a devastating lost: retool the party message to appeal to Latinos, women and working-class people; upgrade antiquated get-out-the-vote systems with the latest technology; teach candidates how to handle the new media landscape.

Emboldened by recent victories at the polls and what they see as rapidly shifting attitudes in favor of gay rights, supporters say Illinois is ready to become the next state to allow same-sex marriage – though they acknowledge it won’t be easy, even with Democratic majorities in Springfield.

Voters in four states either supported gay marriage or opposed a ban on it on Election Day – a sweep that state Rep. Greg Harris, the prime sponsor of a bill introduced in the Illinois House, said represents “a sea change” in public opinion. Those results, along with recent polling that shows support among an increasing number of Illinois voters, has Harris and other advocates counting votes and trying to determine not if legislation could get passed, but how soon.

Church refuses to confirm gay marriage supporter

Written by AP Saturday, 17 November 2012 06:59

The family of a teenager who posted his support for same-sex marriage online says the boy has been denied a Catholic rite of passage at his church in northwestern Minnesota.

Shana Cihak says her 17-year-old son, Lennon, wasn’t allowed to be confirmed at Assumption Church in Barnesville after posting a Facebook picture of himself with a political sign he altered to oppose the marriage amendment on Minnesota’s ballot Nov. 6. The constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage was rejected by voters.

Court hears appeal in same-sex couples tax case

Written by AP Friday, 16 November 2012 11:09

The Alaska Supreme Court heard arguments this week in an appeal from the state over an Alaska taxation policy that treats same-sex couples differently from straight couples.

Last year, a superior court judge ruled same-sex couples are entitled to the same senior citizen and disabled veteran property tax exemptions as married couples, saying a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman doesn’t trump equal protection laws.

Storm-wrecked NY gay youth shelter gets quick help

Written by AP Monday, 19 November 2012 05:18

It took only hours for Superstorm Sandy’s surging waters to destroy an emergency drop-in center for homeless gay youths. Four feet of water swamped the hallways and rooms, buckling the linoleum floors and caking the electrical outlets with sea salt.

But almost as quickly, a social media outpouring helped raise money for a new, bigger Ali Forney Center to keep helping dozens of young people a day with medical care, counseling and a safe place to sleep.

Driver refuses to board bus bearing pro-gay ad, stranding passengers

Written by WiG Saturday, 17 November 2012 08:25

Passengers in England were left stranded on a bus when the replacement driver refused to board the vehicle because it brandished a pro-gay ad.

The ad, a billboard by the U.K.’s gay advocacy group Stonewall, contains the words, “Some people are gay. Get over it.” The driver said that being associated with a message promoting tolerance for people with same-sex attractions, violated the core of his Christian faith. The driver, who was not named, apparently adheres to a growing fundamentalist Christian movement that has made other people’s sexual behavior the primary focus of their religion.

Oregon will have 1st lesbian legislative leader

Written by AP Saturday, 17 November 2012 06:54

An openly lesbian lawmaker will lead a state legislative chamber for the first time after Oregon Democrats chose Rep. Tina Kotek as state House speaker.

Kotek’s selection is another key political victory for the gay community that has notched successes around the nation. It still has to be formally ratified in January.

Nebraska woman says anti-gay attack on her happened

Written by AP Friday, 16 November 2012 11:06

A former University of Nebraska women’s basketball star accused of faking a hate-crime attack against her is standing by her story in letters to news organizations and in a new online video.

In the video and letters — including one to the Lincoln Journal Star — 34-year-old Charlie Rogers says she did not make up the attack. Rogers says that in July, three masked men broke into her home and carved anti-gay words on her arms and abdomen, as well as making other cuts on her body.

Few signs that John Doe probe will net more suspects

Written by AP Monday, 19 November 2012 05:15

When a former aide to Gov. Scott Walker is sentenced, the hearing will bring to a close the second of six cases that grew out of a long-running investigation into Walker’s office when he served as the Milwaukee County executive.

Details of the entire probe are secret, so everyone from investigators to those being investigated are prohibited from discussing details. So it’s not clear how close the so-called John Doe investigation is to wrapping up.

San Francisco nudists sue to block proposed ban

Written by AP Saturday, 17 November 2012 07:01

A group of San Francisco residents is suing the city to block a proposed ban on public nudity.

A lawsuit filed this past week in federal court in San Francisco claims an ordinance that city officials are considering would violate the civil rights of people who want to bare their bodies for personal or political reasons.

Seattle police produce a user’s guide to pot

Written by AP Friday, 16 November 2012 11:12

When Washington state voters overwhelmingly legalized the recreational use of marijuana on Nov. 6, Seattle police knew they’d be getting a lot of questions.

And while many details surrounding the state’s Dec. 6 decriminalization of pot remain, the department didn’t shy away from answering what questions it could about Initiative 502, posting a funny, question-and-answer blog that has become a big web hit _ having been viewed more than 120,000 times and shared more than 15,000 times on Facebook since it was posted Friday.

Abortion hypocrisy rocks Tennessee GOP

Written by WiG Friday, 16 November 2012 07:15

“Pro-family,” anti-choice Republican Congressman Scott DesJarlais, a medical doctor, encouraged his ex-wife to have at least two abortions before their marriage, according to records released in his divorce trial and reported by the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

But that’s only the beginning of this tea party leader’s hypocrisies, according to his divorce records and Tennessee Democrats. The divorce trial transcript also confirms that DesJarlais had a number of unethical extra-marital sexual relationships while serving in a position of medical authority.