Arizona backs bill to allow businesses to discriminate against gay couples

Written by AP
and WiG reports
Friday, 21 February 2014 07:14

The Arizona Legislature gave final approval to legislation that allows business owners asserting their religious beliefs to refuse service to gays, drawing backlash from Democrats who called the proposal "state-sanctioned discrimination" and an embarrassment.

The 33-27 vote by the House on Feb. 21 sends the legislation to Republican Gov. Jan Brewer and puts Arizona back at the forefront of a polarizing piece of legislation four years after the state enacted an immigration crackdown that caused a national furor.

Oregon's attorney general won't defend ban on gay marriages

Written by Wisconsin Gazette Thursday, 20 February 2014 16:44

Oregon's attorney general today (Feb. 20) said she will not defend the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

The following is the statement Oregon Attorney General Ellen F. Roseblum delivered today:

Federal judge asked to skip trial, overturn Idaho's ban on gay marriage ban

Written by The Associated Press Thursday, 20 February 2014 07:35

Four couples suing the state over Idaho's ban on same-sex marriage are asking a federal judge to rule in their favor without a trial, contending the facts of the case and recent federal court rulings elsewhere make it clear that Idaho's marriage laws violate the Constitution.

The defendant in the case, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, also is asking the judge for an immediate ruling, contending that states and not the federal government have the right to define marriage and that same-sex marriages would harm Idaho's children.

Victory Fund condemns homophobic attack ad against city councilman

Written by Wisconsin Gazette Tuesday, 18 February 2014 15:04

The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund this afternoon condemned homophobic attack against Scott Hines, a city councilman in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

The response was prompted by the mailing of a photograph to an unknown number of residences in Hines council district. 

265 'Anne Frank' books vandalized in Tokyo libraries

Written by The AP Friday, 21 February 2014 05:54

Anne Frank's "The Diary of a Young Girl" and scores of books about the young Holocaust victim have been vandalized in Tokyo public libraries since earlier this year.

The damage was mostly in the form of dozens of ripped pages in the books. Librarians have counted at least 265 damaged books at 31 municipal libraries since the end of January.

5 things to know about chilly US-Russian relations

Written by The AP Thursday, 20 February 2014 09:50

The weather is warm at this year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, yet U.S.-Russian relations are still in the deep freeze.

Back in 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gave Russia’s top diplomat a red button labeled “reset” to symbolize how U.S. relations had thawed — even though it was mistranslated into Russian.

Florida artist smashes $1M vase in protest at Miami museum

Written by The Associated Press Wednesday, 19 February 2014 13:55

A South Florida artist is facing a criminal charge after police say he smashed a $1 million vase at Miami’s new art museum to protest what he called its favoritism for international rather than local art.

Maximo Caminero, 51, was charged with criminal mischief after the Feb. 16 incident at the Perez Art Museum Miami. According to a Miami Police Department arrest affidavit, a security guard told officers that Caminero picked up a colored vase by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei. When told to put it down, the security guard said, Caminero smashed it on the floor.

FBI investigating after noose found around University of Miss. statue

Written by The AP Tuesday, 18 February 2014 14:00

The FBI is helping investigate the tying of a noose around the neck of a University of Mississippi statue of James Meredith. In 1962, Meredith became the first black student to enroll in the then all-white southern college.

University police found the noose and a pre-2003 Georgia state flag with the Confederate "stars and bars" on Feb. 16, according to campus police Chief Calvin Sellers.

Humane Society: 900 piglets died in 2 days at Kentucky hog farm

Written by Wisconsin Gazette Thursday, 20 February 2014 16:58

Sows confined in cramped cages known as gestation crates were fed ground up intestines from piglets who had recently succumbed to a highly contagious diarrheal disease, an undercover expose of Iron Maiden Hog Farm in Owensboro, Ky., revealed.

The Humane Society of the United States conducted the investigation and released the undercover video.

European drug bans prompt U.S. to change modes of executions

Associated Press writer
Thursday, 20 February 2014 09:41

There’s one big reason the United States has a dearth of execution drugs so acute that some states are considering solutions such as firing squads and gas chambers: Europe won’t allow the drugs to be exported because of its fierce hostility to capital punishment.

The phenomenon started nine years ago when the EU banned the export of products used for execution, citing its goal to be the “leading institutional actor and largest donor to the fight against the death penalty.” Beefed up European rules mean the results are being most strongly felt in the United States, with controversial executions making headlines.

Kansas senator declares anti-gay marriage bill dead

Written by The Associated Press Wednesday, 19 February 2014 09:53

An anti-gay marriage proposal that roiled Kansas politics is dead, the chairman of a state Senate committee assigned to review it said on Feb. 18.

But the declaration from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Jeff King didn't appear likely to end the debate over providing protections for people and organizations wanting, for religious reasons, to discriminate against gays and lesbians seeking goods and services.

Pope opens big week with sex, marriage, divorce on agenda

Written by The Associated Press Tuesday, 18 February 2014 10:19

Meetings this week between Pope Francis and his cardinals will deal with some of the thorniest issues facing the church, including the rejection by most Catholics of some of its core teaching on premarital sex, contraception, gays and divorce.

German Cardinal Walter Kasper, who has called for "changes and openings" in the church's treatment of divorced and remarried Catholics, will give the keynote speech Thursday to the pope and cardinals attending a preparatory meeting for an October summit on family issues.