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Gay rights law signed in Utah

Written by The Associated Press Friday, 13 March 2015 09:49

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert on March 12 signed into law an anti-discrimination measure that earned the support of the Mormon church.

Hundreds of people packed the capitol rotunda and the staircase behind the governor to witness the public signing ceremony. The crowd roared when Herbert held up a freshly inked copy of the bill.

Louisiana city considers fining people for saggy pants

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Wednesday, 11 March 2015 12:17

The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana is cautioning the Opelousas City Council, which is considering an ordinance creating penalties for saggy or low-riding pants.

The proposed ordinance, according to the ACLU, says, "Pants worn by any person, regardless of age, should be size appropriate and secured at the waist to prevent the pants from falling more than 3 inches below the hips (crest of ilium)."

Transcript: Remarks by the president on 50th anniversary of Selma March

Written by President Barack Obama Monday, 09 March 2015 08:46

The following is a transcript of the remarks delivered by President Barack Obama on March 7 at the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery marches across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The president began the speech at about 2:17 p.m. at the bridge in Selma, Alabama.

The transcript: 

Train carrying Bakken oil derails, burns near Galena

Written by The AP Friday, 06 March 2015 06:44

A freight train loaded with crude oil derailed in northern Illinois, bursting into flames and prompting officials to suggest that everyone with 1 mile evacuate, authorities said.

The BNSF Railway train derailed Thursday afternoon in a rural area where the Galena River meets the Mississippi, according to company spokesman Andy Williams. The train had 103 cars loaded with crude oil, along with two buffer cars loaded with sand. A cause for the derailment hadn't yet been determined. No injuries were reported.

Univ. of Oklahoma severs ties with frat over racist video

Written by The AP Thursday, 12 March 2015 10:56

The president of the University of Oklahoma severed the school’s ties with a national fraternity and ordered that its on-campus house be shuttered after several members took part in a racist chant caught on video.

President David Boren said he was sickened and couldn’t eat or sleep after learning about the video. Posted online, the video shows several people on a bus participating in a chant that included a racial slur, referenced lynching and indicated black students would never be admitted to OU’s chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

U.S. Supreme Court sets date for marriage arguments

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Wednesday, 11 March 2015 10:49

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has filed an amicus brief on marriage equality with the Supreme Court.
— PHOTO: DOJ

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on four marriage equality cases on April 28.

Oregon Senate passes landmark automatic 'Motor Voter' registration

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Friday, 06 March 2015 07:34

The Oregon State Senate this week passed a bill enhancing the state’s Motor Voter registration system to automatically register every driver in the state who is eligible to vote.

A broad coalition of progressive groups backed the legislation, which already has passed in the House and is on the way to Gov. Kate Brown, who has been an advocate of universal voter registration and championed the bill.

Alabama Supreme Court says anti-gay ruling stands until U.S. Supreme Court rules

Written by JAY REEVES AND BILL BARROW,
AP writers
Thursday, 05 March 2015 07:09

The Alabama Supreme Court has made itself an outlier in the judicial march legalizing same-sex marriages in the United States, drawing rebukes from gay rights advocates and evoking comparisons to Alabama's defiance of federal authorities during the civil rights movement.

The court set up a showdown with a Mobile, Alabama, federal judge this week when it ordered officials in the state to stop issuing same-sex marriage licenses pending a U.S. Supreme Court decision later this year on whether gays and lesbians have a fundamental right to marry.

Medical marijuana bill offered in U.S. Senate

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Wednesday, 11 March 2015 12:46

U.S. Sens. Rand Paul, Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand, standing with patients, their families and advocates, announced their sponsorship of new bipartisan legislation to allow the use of medical marijuana in states where it is legal without fear of federal prosecution.

The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States Act would reschedule marijuana from a Schedule I to Schedule II drug.

ACLU sues over 'prison-based gerrymandering' in Florida

Written by WiG Wire Tuesday, 10 March 2015 07:47

A federal lawsuit challenges an election system in Jefferson County, Florida, which counts the inmate population of a state prison in the drawing of district maps.

The lawsuit, filed this week by the ACLU of Florida in the U.S. District Court in Tallahassee, states that by treating the approximately 1,157 inmates at the Jefferson Correctional Institution as residents for redistricting purposes, Jefferson County is engaging in “prison-based gerrymandering,” violating constitutional voting rights protections by watering down the voting strength of residents in all the other voting districts.   

The New England Patriots are rooting for marriage equality. The San Francisco Giants also are fans of same-sex marriage rights.

The reigning baseball and football champions, along with baseball's small-market Tampa Bay Rays, are among the thousands of businesses, religious groups, advocacy organizations and politicians who are filing legal briefs at the Supreme Court in support of gay marriage.

Mormon church backs LGBT anti-discrimination bill in Utah

Written by MICHELLE L. PRICE,
AP WRITER
Thursday, 05 March 2015 06:56

More than 20 years ago, Troy Williams was a young Mormon missionary who didn't know how he would reconcile his sexual orientation with his faith when he came home to live in conservative Utah.

"I was just scared. As a gay Utahn, I couldn't imagine for myself a positive future," said Williams, now 45 and an outspoken advocate for gay rights.

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