Judge refuses to dismiss gay marriage ban lawsuit + nation & world news briefs

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A federal judge has challenged the backers of California’s voter-enacted ban on same-sex marriage to explain how allowing gay couples to wed threatens conventional unions, a demand that prompted their lawyer to acknowledge he did not know.

The unusual exchange between U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker and Charles Cooper, a lawyer for the group that sponsored Proposition 8, came during a hearing on a lawsuit challenging the measure as discriminatory under the U.S. Constitution.

Cooper had asked Walker to throw out the suit or make it more difficult for those civil rights claims to prevail.
The judge not only refused but signaled that when the case goes to trial in January, he expects Cooper and his legal team to present evidence showing that male-female marriages would be undermined if same-sex marriages were legal. The question is relevant to the assertion by gay marriage opponents that Proposition 8 is constitutionally valid because it furthers the state’s goal of fostering â┚¬Å”naturally procreative relationships,â┚¬Â Walker explained.

â┚¬Å”What is the harm to the procreation purpose you outlined of allowing same-sex couples to get married?â┚¬Â Walker asked.
â┚¬Å”My answer is, I don’t know. I don’t know,â┚¬Â Cooper answered.

Briefs

South Carolina Episcopalians break with US church
The Diocese of South Carolina has voted to distance itself but not completely split from the national Episcopal Church because of church positions on same-sex unions and ordination of gays. The resolution was passed after an hour-long debate and allows leaders of the diocese to reduce its participation in the church without severing ties completely.

Va. students pick transgender homecoming queen

Students at the College of William and Mary in Richmond, Va., have elected a transgender homecoming queen. Jessee Vasold took the field at halftime of the Williamsburg school’s football game against James Madison. Students nominated and elected Vasold, who will represent the Class of 2011.

Obama picks 1st openly gay U.S. marshal

President Barack Obama has nominated Minnesota policewoman Sharon Lubinski to become the first openly gay person to serve as a U.S. marshal. Lubinski is an assistant chief in the Minneapolis Police Department, where she has worked for 20 years.

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