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National News
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Etheridge, Michaels to marry
Singer Melissa Etheridge, 47, and actress Tammy Lynn Michaels, 33, are getting married, Etheridge told the TV show Extra on October 1.

"Yes, we have four children and we're trying to find the right time," Etheridge said.

California's Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in June.

On November 4, voters will decide whether to amend the state constitution to undo the ruling.

Polls have shown support for same-sex marriage as high as 55 percent and as low as 42 percent. They have clocked opposition to same-sex marriage as high as 47 percent and as low as 38 percent. Seven to 10 percent of voters have polled as undecided on Prop 8.



Palin tries to walk center line on Gays
Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is strongly against same-sex marriage and has a history of speaking against Gay rights, but in the current campaign, she's attempting to strike a middle ground.

"I am not going to judge Americans and the decisions that they make in their adult personal relationships," she recently told CBS News. "I have one of my absolute best friends for the last 30 years who happens to be Gay, and I love her dearly - and she is not my 'Gay friend,' she is one of my best friends, who happens to have made a choice that isn't a choice that I have made, but I'm not going to judge people."

Palin, however, was judged for that comment by Gay activists, who took exception to her saying that being Gay is a "choice."

There also has been internet chatter that no one can identify who Palin's lifelong Lesbian pal is.

Palin likewise attempted to appear tolerant during the October 2 vice presidential debate.

"If there's any kind of suggestion at all from my answer that I would be anything but tolerant of adults in America choosing their partners, choosing relationships that they deem best for themselves - you know, I am tolerant and I have a very diverse family and group of friends and even within that group you would see some who may not agree with me on this issue, some very dear friends who don't agree with me on this issue," she said. "But in that tolerance also, no one would ever propose, not in a McCain-Palin administration, to do anything to prohibit, say, visitations in a hospital or contracts being signed, negotiated between parties."

But then she stated unequivocally: "I will tell Americans straight up that I don't support defining marriage as anything but between one man and one woman, and I think through nuances we can go round and round about what that actually means. But I'm being as straight up with Americans as I can in my nonsupport for anything but a traditional definition of marriage."

Because Democratic candidates Barack Obama and Joe Biden also claim to oppose same-sex marriage, because Palin was trying to sound tolerant, and because debate host Gwen Ifill was anything but aggressive in her questioning, some debate viewers were left with the impression that there is no difference between the two teams on issues of Gay equality.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Obama and Biden support giving same-sex couples all the rights of marriage - everything but the word - and oppose attempts to ban same-sex marriage in the states where it is legal.

John McCain and Palin, on the other hand, support statewide bans on same-sex marriage, do not speak in support of civil unions, and, in the final analysis, seemingly would go only so far as letting Gay people visit a sick partner in the hospital and allowing them to sign private contracts to attempt to protect their relationship legally.

That's a far cry from the Democratic position in favor of granting Gay couples all marriage rights under a different label.

"Do I support granting same-sex benefits?" Biden asked during the debate with Palin. "Absolutely positively. Look, in an Obama-Biden administration, there will be absolutely no distinction from a constitutional standpoint or a legal standpoint between a same-sex and a heterosexual couple."



Jay Leno supports same-sex marriage
TV talk show host Jay Leno expressed unequivocal support for same-sex marriage on his October 1 broadcast.

During a chat with out talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, Leno said: "I come from Massachusetts, and they've had it in Massachusetts for a long time. And it's fine. The world doesn't collapse.

"You know, I must admit, I go to West Hollywood - people know that's the Gay area. The nicest area, the cleanest area, the safest area. I mean, I don't get it. I mean, if two people want to have something together - the economy is falling apart, I don't care what you do!"

DeGeneres said to Leno, "They are trying to ... stop Gay people from marrying, like somehow Portia and I staying at home watching Dancing With the Stars is affecting anybody."



Pittsburgh diocese leaves Episcopal Church
The Pittsburgh diocese of the Episcopal Church broke with the church October 4, in no small part due to the national church's tolerance for same-sex unions and openly Gay clergy and bishops.

Deputies to the diocese's 143rd annual convention voted 240-102 (with 6 abstentions and 2 ballots determined to be invalid) to join the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone of America, which covers Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. Clergy voted for the break 121-33 and laity voted for it 119-69.

"We deeply value our shared heritage and years of friendship with those still within that denomination, but this diocese could not in good conscience continue down the road away from mainstream Christianity that the leadership of the Episcopal Church is so determined to follow," said the Rev. Peter Frank, diocesan communications director.

"We are deeply thankful to the Province of the Southern Cone for offering us a clear way to stay within the Anglican Communion as the necessary work of building a new province goes forward."

Some of the diocese's 70 parishes and 210 clergy are expected to now withdraw from the diocese and reaffiliate with the Episcopal Church.

One other U.S. diocese has left the church for the same reasons - California's Diocese of San Joaquin.



With assistance from Bill Kelley
picture above: Robin Tyler/Diane Olson
picture below: Ratcliff Tyll marriage
 

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