gay marriage signed into law in Maryland
Maryland's governor signed into law Thursday a bill to legalize gay marriage, though opponents vowed to rally voters to reverse the change this fall in a referendum. Gov. Martin O'Malley's signature makes Maryland the eighth state to legalize gay marriage. The law takes effect in 2013. Six states and the District of Columbia currently recognize gay marriage. A law legalizing it in Washington state takes effect in June.
St. Croix bridge bill clears Congress
Capping decades of squabbling and legislative maneuvering, the House of Representatives approved legislation Thursday that will allow a new St. Croix River bridge to be built connecting Minnesota and Wisconsin. The House voted 339 to 80 in favor of legislation that exempts the proposed $700 million bridge at Stillwater, Minn., under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The Senate approved the legislation in January. It now heads to President Barack Obama.
Edwards trial to begin in April
The delayed campaign finance trial of former presidential candidate John Edwards is scheduled to begin next month. U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Eagles ruled Thursday that jury selection will begin April 12, with the presentation of evidence to start April 23. Eagles expects the trial to last about six weeks. Edwards has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of using campaign funds to cover up an affair during his unsuccessful 2008 presidential candidacy.
Obama urges: End gas, oil subsidies
President Barack Obama, turning his political sights on New Hampshire, demanded that Congress eliminate oil and gas company subsidies that he called an outrageous government "giveaway." Though politically a long shot, the White House thinks the idea resonates at a time of high gasoline prices. Obama has repeatedly called for an end to about $4 billion in annual tax breaks and subsidies for oil and gas companies, which he says are unwarranted at a time of growing profits and rising domestic production.
Hard-line clerics to gain in election
Under siege from international sanctions and threats of Israeli attack, Iranian leaders are calling for a massive turnout in parliamentary elections today as a rebuke to the country's enemies and an endorsement of its political-religious system. The vote is expected to strengthen the hand of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the hard-line Shiite Muslim clerics who dominate political life here. At stake are all 290 seats in the Majlis, or parliament. Few surprises are expected; reformists have been largely sidelined in a purge after the disputed 2009 presidential election.