United States Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist revealed that he is undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments for thyroid cancer, signs that he has a grave form of the disease and probably will not return to the bench soon, the Associated Press reported. The disclosure by the 80-year-old underscores the near certainty that President Bush will make at least one appointment to the Court—and probably more. Rehnquist, a Republican, has been the court's conservative leader for a generation.
Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former vice-presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards, will undergo more tests to determine how far her breast cancer has advanced and ways to treat it, according to AP. Mrs. Edwards was diagnosed with invasive ductal cancer, the most common type of breast cancer. It can spread from the milk ducts to other parts of the breast and beyond.
Despite President Bush's push for a federal marriage amendment, he still secured almost a quarter of the gay vote in the 2004 election, according to the Washington Blade. Four percent of the electorate identified itself as gay male, lesbian, or bisexual. Of that total, Kerry won 77 percent of the gay vote compared to 23 percent for Bush, the exit poll showed. Although the poll shows that Kerry won handily among gays, many gay activists said they were baffled over why 23 percent of the gay electorate would vote for a president who pushed for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. An exit poll conducted four years ago showed that Bush received a nearly identical percentage of the gay vote in 2000.
A year into his job, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom could hardly be more popular; a recent survey put his approval rating among the city's residents at 80 percent. However, according to The New York Times, Newsom's decision in February to open City Hall to thousands of gay weddings has become a subject of considerable debate among Democrats. Some in the party were suggesting even before the Nov. 2 election that Newsom had played into President Bush's game plan by inviting a showdown on the divisive same-sex-marriage issue.
The national Election Day backlash against gay marriage never reached the state blamed for triggering it, the AP reported. Every Massachusetts lawmaker on the ballot who supported gay rights won another term in the legislature.
Cincinnati repealed a law that prevented the city from passing any legislation to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination, according to 365Gay.com . The Cincinnati charter amendment had been passed 10 years ago to tie the hands of the city council from including gays and lesbians in the city's human-rights law. Citizens to Restore Fairness said it needed to be repealed because the current situation allows gays and lesbians to be discriminated against in employment and housing. The repeal measure passed 54 percent to 46 percent.
In Oklahoma, four women have filed a federal lawsuit challenging a constitutional amendment passed by voters that bans same-sex marriage, reported the Web site ChannelOklahoma.com . Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin ( of Broken Arrow ) as well as Susan Barton and Gay Phillips ( of Tulsa ) , filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Tulsa that seeks to do away with the state constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The ban also prohibits giving the benefits of marriage to unmarried couples.
An openly gay Hispanic woman claimed victory in the race for Dallas County sheriff, according to the Houston Chronicle. Democrat Lupe Valdez, 57, is the first woman elected sheriff in the county. Valdez, a 28-year federal agent who worked on fraud, organized crime and drug cases, said her election proved the area is an international county welcoming people of all backgrounds.
The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, the nation's largest gay and lesbian political action committee, announced on its Web site that 40 of the 64 candidates it endorsed did prevail in their races. Some of this year's significant wins included Julia Boseman's North Carolina State Senate win, Nicole LeFavour's Idaho State House victory, and Ed Flanagan's Vermont State Senate win.
A state judge who became a target of conservatives when he dissolved a lesbian couple's civil union was retained by voters in northwest Iowa, the Sioux City Journal reported. Judge Jeffrey Neary granted a divorce to two Iowa women who had entered into a civil union in Vermont. He later amended his ruling, declaring instead that the couple's civil union was terminated. The Iowa Family Policy Center appealed Neary's ruling to the Iowa Supreme Court, claiming he overstepped his authority. The group accused Neary of promoting same-sex marriage and launched a campaign to have him voted off the bench. Iowans in six counties voted about 35,739 to 25,504 to retain him.
In Ohio, Youngstown State University officials are reviewing the impact Ohio's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage will have on YSU's recent decision to extend health insurance to same-sex domestic partners, according to the Youngstown Vindicator. State Issue 1 not only forbids gay marriage but bans the state or any of its subdivisions from recognizing any legal status between unmarried couples, regardless of gender. However, according to the Columbus Dispatch, benefits for same-sex couples won't disappear from Ohio universities any time soon. Officials from four of the five state schools offering the benefits to employees said yesterday that they'll continue them until a court or legal advisers tell them not to.