Some deputy court clerks in St. Mary’s County will stop performing marriages when same-sex marriage becomes legal in Maryland next week. Joan Williams is clerk of the St. Mary’s Circuit Court. She tells the Washington Examiner that some of her employees are opposed to gay marriage for religious reasons. As a result, she decided those deputy clerks won’t perform any marriages. She says it’s a way of respecting their beliefs. "There are some [deputy clerks] that have voiced some opposition to doing it -- [they have] religious feelings about it ... so it's basically my idea that they won't do any marriage at all," said Williams. "Some people are just very against same-sex marriages, and I have to respect their reasons and their decisions." St. Mary's County, as well as every other county in the state, is legally required to start performing same sex marriages on January 2, and many government employees and wedding industry professionals statewide are embracing the change. In fact, in Montgomery County, Circuit Court officials are scheduled to perform six same sex marriages on January 2, said Clerk Loretta Knight. All counties in Maryland are legally required to start performing same sex marriages on January 2. Fifty-two percent of Maryland voters approved legalizing gay marriage, but some resistance remains. Carrie Evans of Equality Maryland, a gay rights group, says there appears to be nothing discriminatory about changing which deputy clerks perform marriages.
Uruguay's Senate has delayed until April a vote on a bill that would legalize same sex marriage, amid calls for further analysis of the proposal. The Marriage Equality Law, approved on December 11 by the lower house, was backed by the governing coalition. But faced with demands for more discussion, senators opted to postpone the vote until after the summer recess. If passed, the law would make Uruguay the second Latin American nation after Argentina to allow gay marriage. Gay rights groups criticized the delay and dozens of people demonstrated outside the Congress building in Montevideo. "Today is not a good day for Uruguayans, for all Uruguayans, because what is at stake is the kind of society we want," lawyer Michelle Suarez told the Spanish news agency Efe. Ms Suarez, who drafted large parts of the bill, said the Senate's decision was just a "loss of time" as "nothing would change in the country in four months.” The governing Broad Front coalition, which has a majority in both houses, issued a statement after Wednesday's senate sessions stressing that all their senators would vote for the bill. But "out of respect for the parliamentary minorities", the draft law would be sent for discussion by a commission, the statement said. The move highlights the controversy the proposed law has generated among some sectors of society in Uruguay. In recent years, Uruguay has moved to allow same sex civil unions, adoption by gay couples, and to allow gay members of the armed forces. Uruguay's neighbour Argentina legalised gay marriage in 2010. Same-sex marriages have been legal in Mexico City since 2009. In May, Brazil's Supreme Court voted overwhelmingly in favour of allowing same-sex couples the same legal rights as married heterosexuals.
Thousands of Dutch Catholics are researching how they can leave the church in protest at its opposition to same sex marriage, according to the creator of a website aimed at helping them find the information. Tom Roes, whose website allows people to download the documents needed to leave the church, said traffic on ontdopen.nl - "de-baptise.nl" - had soared from about 10 visits a day to more than 10,000 after Pope Benedict's latest denunciation of gay marriage this month. "Of course it's not possible to be 'de-baptized' because a baptism is an event, but this way people can unsubscribe or de-register themselves as Catholics," Roes told Reuters. He said he did not know how many visitors to the site actually go ahead and leave the church. About 28-percent of the population in the Netherlands is Catholic and 18-percent is Protestant, while a much larger proportion - roughly 44-percent - is not religious, according to official statistics. The country is famous for its liberal attitudes, for example to drugs and prostitution, and in April 2001 it was the first in the world to legalize same sex marriages. In a Christmas address to Vatican officials, the pope signaled the he was ready to forge alliances with other religions against gay marriage, saying the family was threatened "to its foundations" by attempts to change its "true structure.” Roes, a television director, said he left the church and set up his website partly because he was angry about the way the church downplayed or covered-up sexual abuse in Catholic orphanages, boarding schools and seminaries. A report by an independent commission published a year ago said there had been tens of thousands of victims of child sexual abuse in the Netherlands since 1945 and criticized the church's culture of silence.
The White House may not be making any more announcements about President Obama’s new national security team this week, but that hasn’t stopped the anti-Chuck Hagel campaign. An organization of gay Republicans took out a full page ad in the New York Times on Thursday proclaiming the former Nebraska senator — who has been on Mr. Obama’s short list for defense secretary — as “wrong on gay rights.” The ad also labeled Hagel as “wrong on Iran” and “wrong on Israel,” but the focus of the ad was on Hagel’s words, made more than a decade ago, on gays. In an interview in 1998 about James C. Hormel, a San Francisco philanthropist nominated by President Bill Clinton to be ambassador to Luxembourg, Hagel spoke out against the appointment, saying that an “openly, aggressively gay” man should not represent the United States. Hagel did not oppose the nomination when Mr. Hormel came before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but he did tell the Omaha World-Herald: “They are representing America.” He added: “They are representing our lifestyle, our values, and our standards. And I think that it is an inhibiting factor to be gay — openly, aggressively gay like Mr. Hormel — to do an effective job.” Hagel has since apologized for the remark, saying in a statement last week that his comments “were insensitive,” and not reflective “of my views or of the totality of my public record.” The White House has sought to defend Hagel, while at the same time leaving options open about whom Obama may appoint as defense secretary. Administration officials said that they did not expect an announcement this week. Others believed to be under consideration for the post include Michèle A. Flournoy, a former top Pentagon official who worked on Obama’s re-election campaign; former Navy secretary, Richard Danzig; and a former Pentagon official, Ashton B. Carter, a Harvard physicist. Obama must also appoint a new director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Since Hagel’s name emerged as a contender for the top Pentagon job, he has been sharply criticized for his record on Iran, Israel and militant groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as comments he made about pro-Israel lobbying groups in Washington. Representatives of some pro-Israel lobbying groups have now been ferociously attacking Hagel.
Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana takes his family on an annual holiday trip to Hawaii, his smoking sexy boys Nate and Nick taking the opportunity to strut along the sands shirtless.
Harry Styles spotted holding two very big balls.