gay marriage bill fails with no final vote
A bill to legalize gay marriage in Maryland fell short Friday after supporters failed to find enough votes to overcome Republican opposition and misgivings by some Democrats in the deeply Catholic state. A final vote had been expected in the House, but the overwhelmingly Democratic chamber's leaders instead withdrew it. The Senate narrowly approved the measure two weeks ago, voting 25-21. Same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia.
Wildfires destroy dozens of homes
Grass fires have destroyed 39 homes in the Oklahoma City area, authorities said Friday. Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel said 30 homes were destroyed in Harrah and nine in neighboring Choctaw. Whetsel said the number could jump to 50 or more. The wildfires forced the evacuation of many homes, two schools and a nursing home. • Colorado: Crews were gaining ground on a wildfire that has scorched at least 200 acres in the foothills west of Boulder and prompted the evacuation of more than 200 homes.
Obama defends soldier's detention
President Barack Obama on Friday defended conditions in a Marine Corps jail for Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is accused of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks. The president said that he had been assured that such measures as forcing Manning to sleep without clothing were justified and for his own safety.
Mayor, police chief face gun charges
The mayor and police chief of the tiny border town of Columbus are among 11 people accused of participating in a ring alleged to have illegally sent firearms favored by drug cartels to Mexico. Mayor Eddie Espinoza, police Chief Angelo Vega and town Trustee Blas Gutierrez were among those accused in an indictment unsealed Thursday.
East Coast: Rivers rose from Maryland to Maine on Friday after days of rain, filling basements with water and forcing hundreds of people from their homes but so far not fulfilling fears of widespread catastrophe.
Netherlands: The war crimes trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor ended Friday with judges expected to take months to reach a verdict.