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Christian right leader and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer said on Oct. 1 that his group would begin “a six-figure expenditure” to elect Todd Akin to the U.S. Senate.

Akin is the Republican who infamously said that women rarely get pregnant by “legitimate rape” so that shouldn’t be part of the abortion debate.

Thousands of right-wing Christian zealots gathered Saturday on Independence Mall in Philadelphia to pray for the future of the United States in the weeks before the presidential election.

Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson and Tony Perkins, president of the hate group Family Research Council, topped a full day of speakers at “The America for Jesus 2012” prayer rally.

Judge dismisses charges against Chicago Occupy protesters

Written by AP Saturday, 29 September 2012 21:05

A judge on Sept. 27 tossed out charges against 92 Occupy protesters arrested in a Chicago park last October, severely criticizing what the city had proudly held up as a better way for dealing with demonstrations.

Cook County Associate Judge Thomas Donnelly ruled that the city’s curfew law was unconstitutional and that the city selectively enforced it. He noted police had cracked down on the protesters’ tent camp when the park closed at 11 p.m., but had not moved against others who stayed in the same park past that hour at other times – including those who had come to see Barack Obama after he won the presidency three years earlier.

Bryn Mawr College to honor rocker Patti Smith

Written by AP Saturday, 29 September 2012 05:45

Rock music veteran Patti Smith will be honored by Bryn Mawr College for her artistic accomplishments and pioneering spirit.

The women's liberal arts school near Philadelphia announced that Smith will receive the 2013 Katharine Hepburn Medal.

Another big Supreme Court term kicks off today

Written by AP Monday, 01 October 2012 05:12

When last we saw the chief justice of the United States on the bench, John Roberts was joining with the Supreme Court’s liberals in an unlikely lineup that upheld President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

Progressives applauded Roberts’ statesmanship. Conservatives uttered cries of betrayal.

'Faggot' tweeted 2.5 million times since July 5

Written by WiG Sunday, 30 September 2012 19:12

The word “faggot” has been tweeted more than 2.5 million times since July 5, according to researchers at the University of Alberta’s Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services.

The phrases “so gay” and “no homo” have been tweeted nearly one millions times.

Support for same-sex marriage surges in Illinois

Written by The Associated Press Saturday, 29 September 2012 07:46

More than four of every 10 Illinois voters now support legalizing gay marriage, a 10-point increase in just two years, according to a poll released Sept. 26.

Forty-four percent of those polled said they believe gay and lesbian couples “should be allowed to legally marry,” according to Southern Illinois University's Paul Simon Public Policy Institute. When the same institute asked that question in 2010, only 34 percent backed gay marriage.

Texas capital endorses gay marriage

Written by AP Saturday, 29 September 2012 05:39

The Austin City Council has voted to make the capital city of Texas the first in the state to formally endorse the legalization of same-sex marriages.

The vote this week was unanimous.

Arkansas to be first in South to vote on medical marijuana

Written by AP Monday, 01 October 2012 04:46

The Arkansas Supreme Court decision to keep medical marijuana’s legalization on the ballot introduces some unpredictability to the November election and shifts attention to an issue that might not be easily defined by party labels.

That’s no small feat for an Arkansas election dominated by predictability when it comes to national politics and partisan bickering when it comes to the state level. With Republicans aiming to win control of the state Legislature for the first time since Reconstruction, this may be one of the few issues where Arkansas voters won’t hew to traditional party lines.

California gov. signs bill banning ex-gay therapy for youth

Written by WiG Sunday, 30 September 2012 06:27

California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation barring state-licensed therapists from using so-called ex-gay therapy on LGBT youth.

California state Sen. Ted Lieu introduced the bill with co-sponsors National Center for Lesbian Rights, Equality California, Gaylesta, Mental Health America of Northern California, Lambda Legal and the Courage Campaign.

Pope's butler on trial for leaked papers

Written by AP Saturday, 29 September 2012 05:50

There was a time when a Vatican trial could end with a heretic being burned at the stake. Paolo Gabriele doesn't risk nearly as a dire fate, but he and the Holy See face a very public airing over the gravest security breach in the Vatican's recent history following the theft and leaking of the pope's personal papers.

Gabriele, the pope's once-trusted butler, goes on trial Saturday, accused of stealing the pope's documents and passing them off to a journalist – a sensational, Hollywood-like scandal that exposed power struggles, intrigue and allegations of corruption in the highest levels of the Catholic Church.

The Supreme Court term now getting under way holds the prospect for major rulings about affirmative action, gay marriage and voting rights.

A look at cases the court already has agreed to hear and other top cases in the pipeline: