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First same-sex couple marries in Illinois

Written by The Associated Press Friday, 29 November 2013 06:01

In a short ceremony inside their Chicago apartment, two beaming brides made Illinois history this week as they became the first gay couple to wed under the state's new law legalizing same-sex marriage.

The law approved last week doesn't go into effect until June, but one of the women - Vernita Gray - is terminally ill with cancer, so she and her partner of five years, Patricia Ewert, were granted an expedited marriage license by a federal judge's order.

It's official: Illinois is the 16th state to legalize same-sex marriage

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Wednesday, 27 November 2013 06:36

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signs the bill. – PHOTO: AP/M. Spencer Green

UPDATED: During a loud and festive ceremony in Chicago on Nov. 20, Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation making Illinois the 16th state to legalize same-sex marriage.

Federal court order allows Chicago lesbian couple to marry early

Written by AP
and WiG reports
Tuesday, 26 November 2013 09:04

A federal court ruling means a Chicago couple will be allowed to marry before the state's same-sex marriage law takes effect.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin on Nov. 25 ordered the Cook County clerk to issue an expedited marriage license to Vernita Gray and Patricia Ewert. Gray is terminally ill.

Teen football star charged with killing man over ending relationship

Written by The Associated Press Sunday, 24 November 2013 07:43

A high school football captain has been charged with fatally stabbing his lover with a steak knife after an argument over ending their relationship.

Bloomfield High School student Tarence Mitchell appeared in court Nov. 22 to face a murder charge in the death of 27-year-old Ronald Taylor Jr. Mitchell is being held on $1 million bond.

Protesters target Walmart’s false environmental claims, shoddy work conditions

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Friday, 29 November 2013 02:30

A Walmart protester in Chicago. – PHOTO: AP/Charles Rex Arbogast

Black Friday brings big deals from the world’s largest retailer, but this year’s  annual retail holiday also will bring demonstrations to Walmart, as environmentalists across the country demand change from one of the world’s largest polluters.

Gay couple who protested for marriage license fined a penny

Written by The Associated Press Wednesday, 27 November 2013 04:50

A gay couple arrested after refusing to leave a Kentucky county clerk's office where they had been refused a marriage license have been found guilty of trespassing and fined one cent.

The Rev. Maurice "Bojangles" Blanchard and Dominique James were arrested in January after refusing to leave at closing time.

Modest deal breaks deadlock at UN climate talks

Written by The Associated Press Monday, 25 November 2013 16:27

Avoiding a last-minute breakdown, annual U.N. climate talks limped forward over the weekend with a modest set of decisions meant to pave the way for a new pact to fight global warming.

More than 190 countries agreed in Warsaw to start preparing “contributions” for the new deal, which is supposed to be adopted in 2015.

Federal judge sets date for Penn. same sex-marriage trial

Written by The Associated Press Sunday, 24 November 2013 07:29

A federal judge has set June 9 as the trial date for a lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania’s same sex-marriage ban after rejecting a request to delay the proceeding.

U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III also set a timetable for pre-trial motions and other paperwork to be filed before the trial at the federal courthouse in Harrisburg.

Will icy comet survive close encounter with sun?

Written by The Associated Press Wednesday, 27 November 2013 08:04

For months, eyes in the sky have pointed at the comet that’s zooming toward a blisteringly close encounter with the sun.

The moment of truth comes Thursday — Thanksgiving Day.

Supreme Court to hear challenges to Obamacare birth-control rule

Written by WiG Tuesday, 26 November 2013 11:52

The Supreme Court will hear two challenges to the new federal health care law that argue that businesses can use religious objections to escape a requirement to offer employee insurance coverage that includes access to birth control.

The justices said on Nov. 26 that they will take up an issue that prompted about 40 lawsuits from companies seeking to avoid the rule.

Federal judge strikes law giving clergy tax-free housing allowances

Written by The Associated Press Monday, 25 November 2013 07:57

A federal judge has struck down a law that gives clergy tax-free housing allowances in a decision that could have far-reaching financial ramifications for pastors across the U.S.

In her decision late last week, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb in Wisconsin wrote that the exemption "provides a benefit to religious persons and no one else, even though doing so is not necessary to alleviate a special burden on religious exercise," the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

Poll: 'Just kidding' doesn't make online slurs OK

Written by The Associated Press Saturday, 23 November 2013 14:26

In a shift in attitude, most young Americans now say it’s wrong to use racist or sexist slurs online, even if you’re just kidding. But when they see them, they don’t take much personal offense.

A majority of teens and young adults who use the Internet say they at least sometimes see derogatory words and images targeting various groups. They often dismiss that stuff as just joking around, not meant to be hurtful, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and MTV.