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Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan [pictured] and Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez have refused to defend the 16-year-old ban on same-sex marriage - saying it violates the state constitution's equal protection clause. The current law defines marriage as between a man and a woman. "I took an oath when I was sworn in to defend the constitution of the state of Illinois and I believe that's what I'm doing," Alvarez said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I'm not going to defend something I believe is in violation of the constitution."
A Catholic bishop and a group that promotes equal rights have agreed to present a college scholarship to a gay student during an award ceremony. Davenport's Bishop Martin Amos and the Eychaner Foundation will present the Matthew Shepard Scholarship to Keaton Fuller at Prince of Peace Catholic School in Clinton, IA. Under the agreement, the diocese's school superintendent will read a script by the foundation, and a scholarship committee member will present the award. Fuller supports the agreement.
An Ohio judge has ruled that lesbian mothers must share custody of their 8-year-old biological daughter. The judge found that evidence supports the claims of Julie Rose Rowell that she and biological mother Julie Ann Smith were life partners with an agreement to raise the girl together. Smith plans to appeal the case to a domestic relations judge and will appeal even further if necessary. The couple split up in 2008 and Rowell filed a petition for shared custody after Smith refused to allow her contact with the child.
A custody battle in Florida between two lesbians might force state lawmakers to reconsider a 19-year-old law regarding the rights of sperm and egg donors. One partner donated an egg that was fertilized and implanted into her partner. That woman gave birth in 2004, nine years into their relationship. But the couple separated two years later, and the birth mother fled to Australia with the child without telling her former lover.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says he doesn't know if he would support legislation that would give same sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples. The Democrat supported same sex civil unions, which became legal in Illinois last summer. However, he recently said he wants to study issues surrounding same-sex marriage before he makes a decision.
The Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously against a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban marriage for same-sex couples in Minnesota. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak will sign the measure, which also urges state residents to vote against the amendment in November. “We took this step because it is critical that every person in Minneapolis can make a commitment to the person they love,” said Mayor R.T. Rybak. “Minneapolis has a history of embracing diversity, and we’re a stronger community for it,” said Council Member Elizabeth Glidden.