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Western Republicans urge U.S. appeals court to back gay marriage

By Eric M. Johnson (Reuters) - Republicans from Western states on Tuesday urged a U.S. appeals court to rule state bans on gay marriage unconstitutional, an aide said, citing shifts in the cultural standpoints of some conservatives in a broad national debate. Former U.S. senators Alan Simpson of Wyoming and Nancy Kassebaum of Kansas were among some 20 Republicans who signed a legal brief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver.

Arizona bill prompts debate about discrimination, raises complicated legal questions

PHOENIX - The bill has galvanized business leaders and gay-rights supporters nationwide, united libertarians and Christian conservatives and stirred up a passionate debate on topics like religion and discrimination. Opponents of the legislation, Senate Bill 1062, call it state-sanctioned discrimination because it provides legal protection to business owners who refuse service to gays. But those on the other side say it's a relatively small change to an existing state law covering religious freedom.

Oregon says will not defend state ban on gay marriage

By Jonathan Kaminsky (Reuters) - Oregon will not defend a ban on gay marriage in the state, which was sued by four same-sex couples who argue the prohibition violates equality guarantees enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, the state's top law enforcement official said on Thursday. The decision by Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum makes Oregon the third state in the past month to cease defense in federal court of gay marriage bans, after Nevada and Virginia, as activists fight for legalization across the United States.

Oregon says will not defend state ban on gay marriage

(Reuters) - Oregon will not defend a ban on gay marriage in the state, which was sued by four same-sex couples who argue the prohibition violates equality guarantees enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, the state's top law enforcement official said on Thursday. The decision by Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum makes Oregon the third state in the past month to cease defense in federal court of gay marriage bans, after Nevada and Virginia, as activists fight for legalization across the United States.

Vote on gay marriage ban amendment delayed at least two years in Indiana

By Abdul-Hakim Shabazz INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) - A vote by Indiana residents on a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage was delayed by at least two years on Thursday after the state's Senate declined to restore language that would have put the amendment on track for the 2014 ballot. Postponing a public vote on the measure was seen as a victory for gay rights activists.

U.S. court to hear lawsuit against Virginia gay marriage ban

(Reuters) - A federal court will consider a bid to overturn Virginia's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage on Tuesday after the state's attorney general said he would not defend it. The hearing in Norfolk is the latest in a series of state-based challenges of gay marriage, which has gained increasing acceptance in recent years.

Judge OKs class action status in Virginia for gay marriage lawsuit

By Gary Robertson RICHMOND, Virginia (Reuters) - A federal judge in western Virginia has certified as a class action a lawsuit filed by two Shenandoah Valley couples challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriages. Friday's order adds to growing momentum to end the state's prohibition of same-sex marriage, with Virginia's new attorney general saying his office will no longer defend the ban.

Judge rules Oklahoma gay marriage ban unconstitutional

A US federal judge struck down Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage Tuesday, saying it was unconstitutional, a month after a similar move in Utah. The ruling in the long-running case also followed a landmark Supreme Court decision in June finding that couples in same-sex marriages were entitled to the same benefits and protections as their heterosexual counterparts.

Federal judge sets hearing for Texas same-sex marriage case

By Lisa Maria Garza DALLAS (Reuters) - A federal judge has agreed to hear a case filed by two same-sex couples in Texas seeking to overturn a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, their lawyer said on Wednesday. A San Antonio federal court will hear arguments in February in the case seeking to nullify a 2005 amendment that defines marriage as solely "the union of one man and one woman."

Hawaii latest US state to legalize gay marriage

Lawmakers in Hawaii became the latest to vote to legalize same-sex marriage Tuesday, making the mid-Pacific US state likely the 15th to allow gay weddings, possibly as early as this month. The US state's Senate approved a bill guaranteeing marriage equality for homosexuals, which is now expected to be signed into law by Governor Neil Abercrombie. "I want to congratulate the Hawaii State Legislature on passing legislation in support of marriage equality," said Hawaiian-born President Barack Obama, in a White House statement.
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