Mass. Senate Votes to Allow

Nonresident Gays to Marry

BOSTON -- The Democratic-controlled state Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to repeal the 1913 law that Gov. Mitt Romney (R) is using to bar out-of-state gay couples from marrying in Massachusetts.

The repeal was approved 28 to 3 as part of the Senate version of the state budget. For the law to change, the repeal would have to get through the far more conservative House and a certain veto by Romney.

The law bars nonresidents from marrying in Massachusetts if the union would not be legal in their home state. No other state allows gay marriage.

A day after same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts on Monday, Romney requested copies of all marriage applications filled out by gay couples in Provincetown, Somerville, Springfield and Worcester -- four municipalities that openly defied Romney's order not to marry nonresident gay couples.

Judge Allows Web Evidence

In Terrorism-Support Trial

A federal judge overseeing the trial of a Saudi graduate student accused of supporting terrorism allowed federal prosecutors to show the jury Internet articles and links from Web pages that the government contends were efforts to recruit and raise money for terrorism.

U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge ruled that prosecutors in Boise, Idaho, have laid the foundation to show a possible conspiracy existed among Sami Hussayen and unindicted co-conspirators associated with the Islamic Assembly of North America. The group created Web site materials glorifying suicide operations in Chechnya and Israel and asked Muslims to contribute money to terrorist groups. The defense had argued that the Web material should be excluded because the government has not shown evidence of a conspiracy.

* FORT STEWART, Ga. -- Attorneys for a U.S. soldier accused of deserting his unit in Iraq asked a military judge to dismiss the charge, saying he was entitled to leave the military because he is a Costa Rican citizen. Staff Sgt. Camilo Mejia, a Florida National Guard reservist, is charged with desertion after failing to return to his unit in Iraq after a two-week furlough in October.

* CINCINNATI -- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit upheld the bribery and racketeering conviction of former Ohio congressman James A. Traficant Jr. (D), rejecting his claims of double jeopardy and unfair jury selection. Traficant was expelled from Congress in 2002 after being found guilty of taking kickbacks and favors from businessmen and staff members. He is serving an eight-year prison sentence.

* Nashala Hearn, a sixth-grade Muslim girl in Muskogee, Okla., can wear a head scarf to school under a settlement between the school district and the Justice Department, officials announced. The accord also requires the Muskogee Public School District to change its dress code to allow exceptions for religious reasons.

-- From News Services and Staff Reports