Court at odds on Utah ban on gay marriage
The push for same-sex marriage, which has celebrated victories across the country, entered an uncertain stage Thursday as a federal appeals court appeared divided on whether socially conservative Utah could limit marriage to a man and a woman. In a packed courtroom, three judges — two appointed by Republican presidents and one by a Democrat — from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sparred with lawyers about how such bans affect children of same-sex parents and whether preventing gay couples from marrying does anything to promote or strengthen heterosexual unions and families.
Putin threatens Europe over gas
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Europe on Thursday it may face a shutdown of Russian natural gas supplies if it fails to help Ukraine settle its enormous Russian gas bill, which far exceeds a bailout package offered by the International Monetary Fund. Putin's letter to 18 mostly Eastern European leaders aimed to divide the 28-nation European Union and siphon off to Russia the billions the international community plans to lend to Ukraine. Also Thursday, NATO released satellite photos showing Russian military equipment it described as part of a deployment of as many as 40,000 troops near the border with Ukraine.
Congress rejects Iran ambassador
Congress has said no way to Iran's choice for ambassador to the United Nations, outraged by the prospect of a member of a group responsible for the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran stepping on U.S. soil. In a rare unanimous vote Thursday, the House backed a bill to bar U.S. entry to an individual found to be engaged in espionage, terrorism or a threat to national security. The vote came four days after similar action in the Senate and sends the bill to the White House. The move forces President Barack Obama to make a decision that could have serious diplomatic repercussions.