US Supreme Court takes up same-sex marriage for first time

WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court stepped into the gay marriage debate for the first time yesterday by agreeing to review two challenges to federal and state laws that define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

The high court agreed to review a case against a federal law that denies married same-sex couples the federal benefits heterosexual couples receive. It also unexpectedly took up a challenge to California’s ban on gay marriage, known as Proposition 8, which voters narrowly approved in 2008.

Same-sex marriage is a politically charged issue in a country where 31 of the 50 states have passed constitutional amendments banning it, while Washington, D.C., and nine states have legalized it, three of them on Election Day last month.

The tide of public opinion has been shifting in favor of allowing same-sex marriage. In May, President Barack Obama became the first U.S. president to say he believed same-sex couples should be allowed to get married. A Pew Research Center survey from October found 49 percent of Americans favored allowing gay marriage, with 40 percent opposed.

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Clinton makes history, wins U.S. Democrats’ White House nomination

PHILADELPHIA, (Reuters) – Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton secured the Democratic Party’s 2016 nomination for the White House yesterday, becoming the first woman to head the ticket of a major party in U.S.

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New York AG refuses to comply with U.S. House subpoena on Exxon probe

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – New York state’s attorney general yesterday said his office will not comply with a subpoena issued by U.S.

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U.S. expands Central American refugee screening programme

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – The Obama administration announced a broad expansion on Tuesday of a programme to let people fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras enter the United States as refugees, and said Costa Rica agreed to temporarily shelter some of those with no other recourse.

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Islamists attack French church, slit priest’s throat

SAINT-ETIENNE-DU-ROUVRAY, France,  (Reuters) – Knife-wielding attackers interrupted a French church service, forced the priest to his knees and slit his throat yesterday, a murder made even more shocking as one of the assailants was a known would-be jihadist under supposedly tight surveillance.

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13 people killed in Somali suicide bombing claimed by al Shabaab

MOGADISHU, (Reuters) – Suicide bombers killed at least 13 people at the gates of the African Union’s main peacekeeping base in the Somali capital yesterday, police said, in an attack claimed by the Islamist militants of al Shabaab.

Protestors march against Hillary Clinton (Reuters/Dominic Reuter)

Sanders backers revolt on raucous opening day at US Democratic convention

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – Supporters of Bernie Sanders disrupted the first day of the Democratic convention yesterday, repeatedly chanting and booing mentions of Hillary Clinton’s name as the party’s hopes for a show of unity dissolved into frequent chaos.

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