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  WINDY CITY TIMES

National Roundup
by Andrew Davis
2004-11-24

This article shared 2565 times since Wed Nov 24, 2004
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New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that he will direct his appointees on the city's pension fund boards to treat city employees in gay marriages the same way as those in traditional marriages, Newsday reported. Bloomberg's decision, based on a legal opinion by the city legal department, makes no immediate changes. If the idea is approved by the five pension boards, same-sex couples who are legally married or involved in a civil union with a city employee would receive benefits.

Researchers at the University of California said that voting irregularities in three Florida counties that used electronic voting machines in this month's election may have awarded as many as 260,000 votes more to President George W. Bush than were expected, according to PC World. The Berkeley researchers claimed their findings raise questions about the accuracy of voting results in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade counties, all of which have more voters registered as Democrats than Republicans. According to statistical models, voters in those three counties delivered between 130,000 and 260,000 more votes to Bush than were expected by a post-election analysis.

Three Kentucky residents filed an election challenge to the constitutional amendment voted on Nov. 2, according to a press release from the Kentucky Fairness Alliance ( KFA ) . Citing the requirement that a constitutional amendment proposal must both be clear and deal with only one subject, the petition filed in Franklin Circuit Court asks the court to rule the results void.

Gay marriage, an issue that consumed the Massachusetts legislature for months last winter, is expected to hit Boston again when lawmakers return in January, the Cape Cod Times reported. Under the state constitution, the legislature will be required to hold a constitutional convention by the middle of May. The biggest item on the agenda: a second vote on a proposal to ban gay marriage and simultaneously allow civil unions. If it passes, the measure would go to voters in November 2006. The question is whether the Legislature will vote on the amendment, which initially passed last March, 105 to 92, after four days of debate. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court legalized gay marriage in a decision released one year ago. Same-sex marriages began May 17.

The number of gay and lesbian couples applying for marriage licenses has slowed to a trickle since a rush to the altar in the days after same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts May 17, the Boston Globe reported. In the first week after the Supreme Judicial Court decision took effect, 2,500 gay and lesbian couples applied for licenses; 1,700 have done so in the six months since then, according to unofficial tallies by the Globe and state officials. In all, the state's Registry of Vital Records has received an estimated 4,266 marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples, a spokeswoman said. Massachusetts still does not recognize two mothers or two fathers on birth certificates.

Washington might become the second state in America to legalize same-sex marriage, according to the Baptist Press News and 365Gay.com . The Washington Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a same-sex marriage case March 8, the court announced. If gay activists prevail, then the U.S. will have states on both coasts issuing licenses.

U.S. Catholic bishops have launched a plan to promote marriage, not specifically from those who favor gay unions but from the general difficulty of getting and staying married, according to Reuters. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops also approved plans to collect more information on clerical sex abuse, as the church struggles to respond to victims of priest pedophilia in a scandal that surfaced more than two years ago.

A Utah group is preparing for legal challenges to marriage defense laws nationwide—those similar to Utah's own Amendment Three, according to KSL-TV. The Marriage Law Foundation will lend legal expertise to states that ask for it.

In Kansas, a transsexual who signed a marriage license application as a woman did not lie, even though she is legally considered a man, a judge ruled. The Associated Press reported that, in his opinion, Leavenworth County District Judge Frank Stewart said it was impossible to determine whether Sandy Gast had intended to lie on the application or whether she truly believed herself to be female. In a Human Rights Campaign press release, Cheryl Jacques said ' [ t ] he judge recognized the absurdity behind these discriminatory charges. The judge properly recognized that Ms. Gast intended no dishonesty by checking the box that truly corresponds with her gender identity.'

Florida governor Jeb Bush has rejected a call to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, a move that has put him at odds with his brother the President, 365Gay.com reported.

National Field Director and deputy political director for the Republican National Committee Daniel Gurley solicited unprotected sex and multiple sex partners in an online profile at Gay.com, reported The Blue Lemur. Gurley's adult chat profile soliciting men for unprotected sex and said he has sex three to five times weekly was discovered by activist Michael Rogers of blogACTIVE.com .

Ken Mehlman, the new head of the Republican National Committee ( RNC ) , has caused a stir by refusing to answer questions regarding his sexual orientation, according to AMERICAblog ( americablog.blogspot.com ) . According to the web log, questions about the 37-year-old Mehlman's sexual slant have been swirling around Washington for years. Gay-rights advocates argue that it would be the height of hypocrisy for the Bush administration to pick a homosexual to run the RNC.


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