Openly gay U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wisconsin, announced additional key congressional appointments as a member of the House Budget Committee and as an assistant minority whip.
Pocan also has been appointed to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
The Republican Party seems as divided and angry as ever.
Infighting has penetrated the highest levels of the House GOP leadership. Long-standing geographic tensions have increased, pitting endangered Northeastern Republicans against their colleagues from other parts of the country. Enraged tea party leaders are threatening to knock off dozens of Republicans who supported a measure that raised taxes on the nation’s highest earners.
The stalling of Illinois’ gay-marriage push – at least for now – shows the difficulty of approving legislation to legalize it, even with a nudge from the home-state president, steadily rising support in the polls and national momentum from the November elections.
Democrats control both chambers of the General Assembly and the governor’s office in the solidly blue state. Yet the margin of support Senate Democrats were able to pull together for a bill last week was so thin that a death in one lawmaker’s family and another senator’s extended trip to Israel were enough to push the issue into the next legislative session.
With the opening of the 101st session of the Wisconsin Legislature, Gov. Scott Walker, R, issued a statement. He said:
"I look forward to working with all four legislative caucuses to help improve our state for the next generation.
Julia Roberts and Mark Ruffalo will star in an HBO movie adaptation of “The Normal Heart,” the play about the onset of the AIDS crisis in New York City in the early 1980s.
HBO said that Ryan Murphy, maker of “Eat Pray Love” and the TV show “Glee,” will direct the film.
Tickets for the Burning Man festival in northern Nevada will soon go on sale, and some veteran participants complain the new prices are too steep.
Organizers of the eclectic art and music festival announced that an allotment of 51,000 individual tickets will be available for $380 each.
Experts believe a Kansas sperm donor being sued by the state for child support put himself in a precarious legal position by getting involved in a lesbian couple’s do-it-yourself artificial insemination.
Kansas law states that a sperm donor is not the father of a child if a doctor handles the artificial insemination. But the law does not specifically address the donor’s rights and obligations when no doctor was involved.
Some servicemembers ousted under the now retired ban on gays in the military will receive their full separation pay, not the half-pay they received previously.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of New Mexico announced a settlement in the class action suit later on Jan. 7.
President Barack Obama formally nominated former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense, saying Hagel is "the leader that our troops deserve."
Obama made the announcement in the White House East Room on Jan. 7 even as critics questioned the pick over issues including Hagel's views on Israel and Iran and his old record on LGBT issues.
The state of North Carolina is appealing a federal judge’s ruling that it can’t offer anti-abortion license plates unless it also makes plates available for people who support abortion rights.
The state filed notice late last week that it’s appealing the decision last month by Judge James Fox, who said offering just the one license plate violates the First Amendment. The state’s notice included no comment beyond the appeal.
A dental assistant fired because her boss thought she was too attractive wants the Iowa Supreme Court to reconsider its decision rejecting her discrimination lawsuit.
Melissa Nelson’s attorney asked the all-male court late last week to withdraw its Dec. 21 ruling, which she called a “significant blow to gender equality.”