Pope Francis announced changes in the influential Vatican office that evaluates and nominates candidates for bishop around the world.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington was appointed on Dec. 16 to the Congregation for Bishops. The pope also reconfirmed Cardinal William Levada, the former archbishop of San Francisco and former head of the Vatican's orthodoxy watchdog office.
Gay couples who want to wed immediately in Illinois because one partner has a life-threatening illness could do so starting today (Dec. 16), rather than waiting until the state's same-sex law takes effect in June.
The change came after U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman expanded on another judge's earlier ruling that allowed a lesbian couple to get married last month in Illinois because one of the women is terminally ill. Coleman's decision means gay couples across the state can marry right away - through the Cook County clerk's office - if they can provide a doctor's note confirming the terminal illness.
President Barack Obama's acknowledgement that his promise that Americans could keep their health insurance plan turned out to be inaccurate topped this year's list of best quotes, according to a Yale University librarian.
Other notable quotations on Fred Shapiro's eighth-annual list included Pope Francis' urging that the Catholic Church reduce emphasizing hot-button issues like abortion, a Republican governor insisting on changes in his party and a Pakistani teenager who was shot by the Taliban calling for a campaign against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism.
Actors and athletes, politicians and pop stars came out in 2013 in tweets and now viral videos, as well as in old-school confessionals in magazine cover stories and memoirs. A look back at some of the bigger coming out occasions of 2013:
A review of grants for LGBT issues shows that domestic funding exceeded $100 million, according to Funders for LGBTQ Issues.
The organization also reported that funding in 2012 was largely stable.
The Social Security Administration announced on Dec. 16 that it had processed some survivor claims filed by widows and widowers from same-sex marriages.
"I am pleased to announce that, effective today, Social Security is processing some widow's and widower's claims by surviving members of same-sex marriages and paying benefits where they are due," said Carolyn W. Colvin, acting commissioner of Social Security. "In addition, we are able to pay some one-time lump sum death benefit claims to surviving same-sex spouses."
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Dec. 13 announced that all states would comply with Pentagon policy and offer equal benefits to married couples.
The announcement followed weeks of dispute involving national guard programs in some states where constitutional amendments have been passed that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
France, Uruguay, New Zealand and England legalized same-sex marriage in 2013 — unprecedented advancements in the quest for equality for LGBT people.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has expressed concern over a judge's ruling against key parts of Utah's polygamy laws. The governor said his legal counsel would determine the ramifications of the decision.
Herbert said while he had not had a chance to review U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups' ruling, he is "always a little concerned" when public policy changes are made by the courts.
Hundreds of gay rights activists gathered in India's capital and other cities across the country on Sunday to protest a decision by India's top court to uphold a law that criminalizes gay sex.
India's Supreme Court last week reversed a landmark 2009 lower court order that had decriminalized gay sex. The country's gay community is demanding that the government take immediate action to remove the colonial-era law banning same-sex relations.
As part of the U.S. government's ongoing efforts to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling against Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in United States v. Windsor, the Education Department on Dec. 13 announced new guidance on the use of “marriage” and “spouse” in the federal student aid programs, including on the completion of the FAFSA, the federal student aid form.
The U.S. Supreme Court in June struck down the part of DOMA that banned the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, resulting in the withholding of more than 1,100 rights and benefts.
Michigan will join more conservative states in requiring residents who want health insurance coverage for abortions to buy an extra policy, after Republican legislators passed the law on Dec. 11 over the objections of Democrats who pleaded for them to take the issue to voters instead.
The citizens' initiative approved 62-47 by the House and 27-11 in the Senate - almost entirely along party lines - will become law in March without the signature of Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who vetoed similar legislation a year ago. The anti-abortion group Right to Life collected more than 300,000 signatures to put the legislation before lawmakers, who also had the option of letting it go to a statewide vote next November.