High court hears arguments on gay marriage
WASHINGTON (AP) — With fierce opponents and advocates gathered outside, the U.S. Supreme Court has heard arguments on same-sex marriage.
The court must resolve conflicting lower court rulings on whether gay marriage is a constitutional right.
Legal observers closely watched the justices' comments for possible clues about their leanings. Justice Anthony Kennedy, who authored the court's three prior gay rights rulings, did not tip his hand. The arguments lasted more than two hours.
Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor both said marriage was a fundamental right and a state would need a truly compelling reason to deny it to a class of people. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said heterosexual couples would retain the same marriage benefits they currently have, whether or not same-sex couples also could marry. Justice Antonin Scalia said he worried that a court decision in favor of same-sex marriage would force ministers to stop officiating at weddings altogether if they refused to perform same-sex weddings.
Same-sex marriage is already legal in 36 states and the District of Columbia. The court's decision is expected by June.
Flower shop owner to appeal to Washington State Supreme Court
RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — A flower shop owner in Richland, Washington, who lost a lawsuit over her refusal to provide services for a same-sex wedding wants the state Supreme Court to review the case.
Attorneys for Barronelle Stutzman filed the notice of appeal on Monday.
The Tri-City Herald reports the state Supreme Court can decide to take up the case or transfer it to the state Court of Appeals to handle first. Stutzman owns Arlene's Flowers, and says her religious beliefs prevent her from providing flowers for a same-sex wedding.
A judge ruled earlier this year that Stutzman broke the law when she told a longtime customer that she couldn't provide services for his same-sex wedding because of her religious beliefs. The case drew nationwide attention.
Clergy work to promote peace in Baltimore
BALTIMORE (AP) — Civic leaders in Baltimore are praising the work of ministers and other clerics who have taken to the streets to not only protest, but to urge clam in the wake of this week's violence.
Following days of peaceful protests against the death of a man from injuries sustained while in police custody, violence broke out late Monday following the funeral for Freddie Gray. Scores of cars were torched, including police vehicles. Buildings were set ablaze and businesses in several areas were looted. Hundreds were arrested.
A group of ministers marched arm-in-arm on Monday night. Ironically, one minister who has urged calm was the victim of arson. But the Rev. Monte Hickman of Southern Baptist Church vowed that a center under construction that was destroyed will be rebuilt.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake says some churches opened their doors to students on Tuesday because schools were closed. Police Commissioner Anthony Batts says ministers have joined activists in making sure those who don't want peace aren't given a role in protests.
Miller to plead guilty in Jewish site shootings
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A white supremacist accused of killing three people near two Kansas Jewish centers says he's ready to plead guilty to all charges to avoid a lengthy trial.
Frazier Glenn Miller told The Associated Press in a phone call from jail on Monday that he doesn't have long to live and wants to have his day in court.
The 74-year-old from Aurora, Missouri, is charged with capital murder in the April 2014 shooting deaths of 69-year-old William Lewis Corporon and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park, Kansas. He also is accused of killing 53-year-old Terri LaManno at a nearby Jewish retirement home.
Miller told the AP he wasn't aware none of the victims were Jewish.
Conservative pastors slam governor, lawmakers, over religion law fix
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A group of conservative religious leaders says Gov. Mike Pence and Republican leaders failed to protect religious liberty by approving a change to Indiana's religious objections law.
Members of the Indiana Pastors Alliance gathered at the Statehouse Monday to protest the change to a law that some believed would allow discrimination against the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender community.
Pastors Alliance Executive Director Ron Johnson also issued an open letter accusing lawmakers of a "cowardly capitulation" to the LGBT community. Johnson says Republican leaders betrayed religion by caving to what he calls a "gay mafia" intimidation campaign.