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WORLD
March 27, 2014 | By Robyn Dixon
CAPE TOWN, South Africa - When South African airport officials threatened to send Dr. Paul Semugoma back to his native Uganda, he shook with fear. Semugoma, an outspoken gay activist, was determined to remain in this country, where he has lived for two years, rather than be sent back to one of Africa's most homophobic countries. Held by immigration officers after returning to South Africa with an expired visa, he was allowed to stay only after an outcry from human rights groups mindful of new legislation in Uganda calling for life in prison for those who engage in repeated acts of gay sex. The harshness of the law signed days later by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni - and similar strictures in more than three dozen African nations - is triggering a profound reaction in Africa.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 24, 2014 | By Robin Abcarian
What exactly was Bill Donohue, the cranky public face of the Catholic League and tireless critic of gay rights, trying to prove when he asked to be included in this year's gay pride parade in New York City? That the gays would reject him? Oh please. Here's how his failed publicity stunt went down: Feb. 27 : During a TV interview with Raymond Arroyo, host of the Catholic talk show “The World Over,” Donohue, 66, dismisses the idea that gay people should be able to march under a gay pride banner in New York City's St. Patrick's Day Parade.
NATIONAL
March 22, 2014 | By Paresh Dave
Same-sex weddings in Michigan were abruptly halted Saturday when a federal appeals court put on hold a lower court ruling that declared the state's ban on gay marriages unconstitutional. The appellate court order came Saturday afternoon, after Michigan officials had issued at least 322 marriage licenses to gays and lesbians who jumped at the chance to be among the first same-sex couples in the state to wed. County clerks in four of Michigan's 83 counties called in staff on a weekend to mark the short-lived (for now)
NATIONAL
March 21, 2014 | By Paresh Dave
A lesbian couple in Michigan who have lived together for eight years have the right to marry, a federal judge ruled, finding that the state's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. In striking down the ban, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman became the ninth federal judge to strike down state gay marriage bans in successive cases. Since December, judges in Texas, Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia have found gay marriage bans unconstitutional. "Many Michigan residents have religious convictions whose principles govern the conduct of their daily lives and inform their own viewpoints about marriage," Friedman wrote in his ruling issued late Friday.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 20, 2014 | By Mark Z. Barabak
Ron Smith, a rare campaign strategist who worked both sides of the partisan aisle, managing races for some of California's most prominent politicians in a decades-long career, died Tuesday at a hospital in San Francisco. He was 71 and had a blood infection. Smith, who was openly gay long before it was widely accepted, promoted candidates who shared his philosophy of fiscal conservatism and broad-mindedness on social issues. Most were Republicans, including several from Silicon Valley, among them former Reps.
NATIONAL
March 17, 2014 | By Matt Pearce
Fred Phelps, Sr. -- the 84-year-old founder of one of the most-hated churches in America and possibly the world -- has been placed in hospice and could be at " the edge of death ," according to an estranged son. The lack of public sorrow over this news has been frequent and unapologetic, for reasons obvious to anyone who has been forced to pay attention to Phelps and the legacy he is expected to leave behind. Since 1991, under Phelps' direction, the Topeka, Kan.-based Westboro Baptist Church has picketed the funerals of soldiers and prayed for the death of more , and has held up signs saying "God Hates Fags.
NATIONAL
March 16, 2014 | By Matt Pearce
Things don't get much more Boston than the St. Patrick's Day parade that goes through south Boston every year. But citing an exclusion of gay participants, the city's mayor decided not to join one of the famously Irish city's most famously Irish events on Sunday. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, whose parents were Irish immigrants, was keeping a promise not to attend after he failed to convince organizers to allow a gay veterans group to participate in the march. "As mayor of the city of Boston, I have to do my best to ensure that all Bostonians are free to participate fully in the civic life of our city," Walsh said in a statement to local media . "Unfortunately, this year, the parties were not able to come to an understanding that would have made that possible.
NATIONAL
March 15, 2014 | By David Zucchino
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - In almost every sense, Emilio Vicente is an American success story. He grew up a shy kid in the North Carolina mill town of Siler City. His parents, who moved there when he was 6, had little formal education and worked long, punishing shifts at a chicken processing plant to support their seven children. Vicente's strong grades and college boards earned him a full scholarship to the University of North Carolina, one of the nation's most prestigious public universities.
NATIONAL
March 14, 2014 | By Joseph Serna
Tennessee has to recognize the same-sex marriages of three couples despite a state constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and woman, a federal judge ruled in a lawsuit Friday. While emphasizing that her preliminary injunction against the state was limited only to the three couples named in the suit, federal Judge Aleta A. Trauger noted that before long, the ban would probably be upended for all same-sex couples in Tennessee. At some point in the future, probably with the aid of further rulings, "in the eyes of the United States Constitution, the plaintiffs' marriages will be placed on equal footing with those of heterosexual couples and ... proscriptions against same-sex marriage will soon become a footnote in the annals of American history," Trauger wrote.
NEWS
March 14, 2014 | By Lalita Clozel
WASHINGTON -- Same-sex spouses must be provided equal access to family healthcare plans offered by insurers in the Affordable Care Act marketplace exchanges, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Friday. Beginning next year, “insurance companies will not be permitted to discriminate against married same-sex couples when offering coverage,” Matthew Heinz, the agency's director of provider and LGBT outreach, said in a blog post. According to the guidelines, insurance companies that provide family plans to heterosexual couples will not be allowed to deny similar plans to same-sex married couples.
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