Gay Marriage Ban Does Not

Make Ballot in Michigan

LANSING, Mich. -- A state board voted along party lines Monday to keep a proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage off the ballot -- even though supporters apparently collected many more signatures than required.

The Board of State Canvassers deadlocked 2 to 2 on whether to certify more than 464,000 signatures in favor of the amendment. Supporters needed 317,757 valid signatures. Two Democrats on the board voted against certification, while two Republicans voted for it.

Eric Doster, an attorney for a group that collected the signatures, accused the Democrats of ignoring their legal duty and vowed a challenge in the courts.

The amendment would define marriage as between a man and a woman. Same-sex marriage is already banned in Michigan law; opponents want language in the constitution to protect against judicial decisions or legislative initiatives.

Voters in at least 11 states will decide this fall whether their states' constitutions should forbid same-sex marriage.

* DELAND, Fla. -- A grand jury indicted four men in the deaths of six people during a home invasion earlier this month, and the state prosecutor planned to seek the death penalty. The alleged ringleader, Troy Victorino, 27, and Robert Cannon, Michael Salas and Jerone Hunter, all 18, were charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, abuse of a dead body with a weapon and armed burglary. They also were charged with cruelty to animals for killing a dog in the house. Police said the killings followed an argument between Victorino and one of the victims, Erin Belanger, 22, over an Xbox video game system and clothes owned by Victorino.

* MIAMI -- A Pakistani man arrested in North Carolina after he filmed banks and public transportation systems in a half-dozen major U.S. cities was indicted by a federal grand jury in Charlotte on immigration charges, justice officials said. Kamran Akhtar, 35, also known as Kamran Shaikh, of Elmhurst, N.Y., could face 55 years in prison if convicted on all six counts.

* PHILADELPHIA -- U.S. District Judge Anita Brody delayed sentencing antiabortion activist Clayton Lee Waagner, who was convicted of mailing fake anthrax bacteria to women's clinics. Brody said the Supreme Court must first clarify the legality of federal sentencing rules.

* ROME, Ga. -- Lawyers began picking a jury in the lawsuit against the operator of a crematory where 334 uncremated bodies were found. Nearly 1,700 family members of those supposedly cremated at Tri-State Crematory in Noble, Ga., are suing its operator, Brent Marsh, and the estate of his late father, Ray Marsh.

* CHICAGO -- The city gave the Chicago Cubs the go-ahead to play ball at Wrigley Field after the stadium passed another round of inspections of repair work done on its crumbling upper deck. Chunks of concrete fell from the deck of the 90-year-old ballpark on at least three occasions since June.

* SEATTLE -- About 1,700 nurses and other health care workers began a five-day strike against Group Health Cooperative -- one of the nation's oldest HMOs -- over the cost of their own health benefits.

-- From News Services