Gay Couples Celebrate

Marriage-Ban Failure

COLORADO SPRINGS -- Fifty gay couples celebrated the Senate's defeat of the Federal Marriage Amendment by exchanging vows Sunday in the shadow of Pikes Peak.

"This is a civil rights issue, not a religious issue," Frank Volz said after saying his vows with partner Brian Lund. "Our marriage isn't going to hurt anyone."

The wedding vows carried no legal weight since Colorado does not recognize same-sex unions or marriages. Each couple received a certificate saying Pikes Peak Metropolitan Community Church recognized their union and love.

Laurie Boschert was among a few same-sex marriage opponents watching the ceremonies. She held a sign calling on couples to repent.

Hundreds More Flee

As Wildfire Spreads

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. -- Dry temperatures and strong winds fanned a wildfire toward hundreds of homes Sunday in northern Los Angeles County, forcing about 1,000 people to flee their homes.

More than 600 homes near Santa Clarita were threatened as the fire, which was 35 percent contained, grew to more than 4,200 acres, said county fire department spokesman Mike Brown. An unexpected wind shift pushed the fire toward the houses just hours after officials had lifted an earlier evacuation order.

By afternoon, the fire -- fanned by winds as fast as 15 to 20 mph -- had moved northeast toward homes in the neighborhood of Fair Oaks Ranch, Brown said. A 10-mile stretch of the Antelope Valley Freeway east of Interstate 5 was closed.

About 90 miles east of downtown Los Angeles in Riverside County, fire officials contained 50 percent of a 3,600-acre fire. Full containment was expected Tuesday morning.

Elsewhere, fire crews in western Nevada started heading home Sunday after mostly containing an erratic fire that had destroyed at least 15 homes and briefly threatened the governor's mansion.

* LOS ALAMOS, N.M. -- The head of the National Nuclear Security Administration visited Los Alamos National Laboratory to oversee the investigation into security lapses at the lab. Linton Brooks is one of the federal officials inquiring into the disappearance of two electronic data storage devices that were reported missing at the lab earlier this month.

* CLEBURNE, Tex. -- An obscenity charge was dropped against Joanne Webb, who received nationwide attention when she was arrested in connection with selling two sex toys to undercover police officers posing as a couple at what Webb called a Tupperware-type party. Johnson County Attorney Bill Moore said he sought the dismissal to prevent wasting county resources.

* MINNEAPOLIS -- A health maintenance organization is calculating its losses after a computer programming glitch told pharmacists to give thousands of Minnesota retirees free generic prescriptions. Retirees accepted the freebie for several days before a retired school librarian pointed out the error.

* BROOKFIELD, Ill. -- A Jordanian man living in the United States illegally since 1996 was charged with lying about his immigration status to obtain a pilot's license in 2002. The Federal Aviation Administration quickly approved the application from Sami Abuhamatto, 24, but he was snared after arranging a bogus marriage late last year in an effort to gain resident alien status, authorities said.

-- From News Services