Gay spouses get U.S. visa rights
The United States will treat the visa applications of same-sex married couples in the same manner as opposite-sex spouses, Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday. The policy change applies to U.S. citizens as well as foreign same-sex couples, dependent only on the marriage having taken place in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage. After the Supreme Court struck down a section of the Defense of Marriage Act that defined marriage as a union between a man and woman, President Barack Obama asked federal agencies to review their policies. The policy change is a result of that. Rachel Tiven, executive director of Immigration Equality, a nonprofit group that advocates for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, estimated that tens of thousands of people could be affected by the change.
Obama ex-aide to help Tories
Britain's governing Conservatives have hired Jim Messina, President Barack Obama's campaign manager in 2012, to advise them ahead of the 2015 general election. Messina said Friday that he had "long admired Prime Minister (David) Cameron" and would be offering the Conservatives "strategic campaign advice." The Conservatives govern in coalition with the Liberal Democrats, but hope to win a parliamentary majority. Messina is now chairman of a nonprofit called Organizing for Action and head of consulting firm the Messina Group.
Judge blocks horse slaughter
A federal judge on Friday temporarily halted plans by companies in New Mexico and Iowa to start slaughtering horses next week. U.S. District Judge Christina Armijo of New Mexico issued a restraining order in a lawsuit brought by the Humane Society of the United States and other groups in a case that has sparked a debate about how best to deal with the tens of thousands of wild, unwanted and abandoned horses. It would have been the first horse slaughter in seven years.
By the numbers
9,369 Cubans who received U.S. nonimmigrant visas in the first half of 2012.
16,767 Cubans who received such visas in the first half of 2013, an increase of 79 percent, according to the Communist Party newspaper Granma. This year Cuba scrapped the widely detested exit visa that had hampered travel.