Iowa Supreme Court hears arguments in challenge to gay marriage ban

DES MOINES, Iowa — The gay marriage debate continues as the Iowa Supreme Court hears arguments in a challenge to the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

Lambda Legal filed the lawsuit in 2005 on behalf of the six gay and lesbian Iowa couples who were denied marriage licenses, as well as three of the couples’ children. It names former Polk County recorder and registrar Timothy Brien.

In August 2007, Polk County District Court Judge Robert Hanson ruled that the state law allowing marriage only between a man and a woman violates the constitutional rights of due process and equal protection.

Hanson stayed his decision the next day and now the case is before the Supreme Court, which is scheduled to hear oral arguments on Tuesday morning.

Attorneys involved in the case say it could take a year or more for a ruling.

Kerekes please guilty to murdering gay porn producer, sentenced to life without parole

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — A man has pleaded guilty in the stabbing death of a northeastern Pennsylvania porn producer.

Thirty-four-year-old Joseph Kerekes pleaded guilty Monday, Dec. 8, to second-degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Prosecutors say Kerekes and a co-defendant, 27-year-old Harlow Cuadra, killed Bryan Kocis inside his Dallas home, then set the house on fire to try to cover up the crime. Prosecutors say the suspects wanted to eliminate a rival in the gay porn industry.

Kerekes’ plea spares him a potential death sentence. He says he won’t testify against Cuadra, who is schedule to go on trial next month.

Both men are from Virginia Beach, Va.

Ecuadorean immigrant beaten in apparent anti-gay attack dies of injuries

NEW YORK — A law enforcement official in New York City say an Ecuadorean immigrant has died after being viciously beaten by attackers who shouted anti-gay and anti-Hispanic slurs.

The 31-year-old man had been in very critical condition following brain surgery.

The official — speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing — confirmed his death on Tuesday, Dec. 9 to The Associated Press.

The victim was attacked with a bat as he walked arm-in-arm with his 38-year-old brother early Sunday in Brooklyn.

The four assailants are still being sought.

Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, 7 others, approve resolution calling for consecration of gay bishops

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles has joined seven other dioceses in passing a resolution asking the church to let gays and lesbians become bishops.

The vote on Dec, 5 at the church’s 113th annual Diocesan Convention rejected the Episcopal Church’s de facto moratorium on the election of gay or lesbian bishops.

The resolution will be forwarded for consideration at the July 2009 national convention in Anaheim.

Also at the meeting the LA diocese expressed support for gay marriage with the creation of the "Sacramental Blessing for a Life-long Covenant."

Cleveland City Council votes to establish domestic partner registry in city

CLEVELAND — The city council has voted to make Cleveland the third Ohio city with a domestic partner registry for gay or other unmarried couples.

They would declare their relationships at City Hall to provide proof for health insurance and other benefits typically reserved for married couples.

Several council members said they were lobbied hard by local ministers who oppose domestic partner benefits for religious reasons and wanted the proposal defeated. Councilman and registry cosponsor Kevin Conwell says he received more than 70 calls over the weekend.

Council members approved the plan 13-7 at their meeting Monday, Dec. 8. It now goes to Mayor Frank Jackson, who plans to sign the registry into law.

Cleveland Heights and Toledo already have domestic partner registries.

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