CONCORD, N.H. — Opponents of repealing New Hampshire’s gay marriage law said Monday the issue is one of civil, not religious liberties.
About two-dozen members of Standing Up For New Hampshire Families held a news conference to urge the House to kill a bill that would repeal the same-sex marriage law. The House votes on the bill Wednesday.
State Rep. Mike Ball, a Manchester Republican, said he went to a segregated school in the South and repealing the law would do the same thing in New Hampshire by relegating gay unions to the separate status of civil unions.
State Rep. Jennifer Coffey, R-Andover, said the Legislature should not make gay couples into second-class citizens by creating two classes of unions — one for heterosexual couples and one for gay couples.
State Rep. David Bates, the bill’s prime sponsor, proposes repealing gay marriage and replacing it with the civil unions law in place in New Hampshire in 2008 and 2009. Same-sex marriages became legal in the state in 2010.
Marriages in effect before Bates’ proposed law took effect in March 2013 would not be affected, but future gay unions would be civil unions if the bill becomes law. Voters could weigh in through a nonbinding ballot question in November.
Lawyer: Afghan killings suspect remembers little
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — The lawyer for the Army staff sergeant accused of slaughtering 16 Afghan civilians in a shooting rampage met his client for the first time Monday and said the solider has a sketchy memory of the night of the massacre.
Lawyer John Henry Browne said Robert Bales remembers some details from before and after the killings, but very little or nothing from the time the military believes he went on a shooting spree through two Afghan villages.
Bales, 38, has not been charged yet in the March 11 shootings, though charges could come this week. The killings sparked protests in Afghanistan, endangered relations between the two countries and threatened to upend American policy over the decade-old war.
Kids found slashed in Mass. home fire; mom charged
SALEM, Mass. — A Massachusetts woman accused of slashing her children’s throats and setting the family’s apartment on fire with lighter fluid has been ordered held without bail.
Tanicia Goodwin pleaded not guilty at her arraignment Monday in Salem District Court. She’s charged with two counts of assault with intent to murder, two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and arson.
Authorities say Goodwin’s 3-year-old daughter, Erica, and 8-year-old son, Jamaal, were flown to a hospital after they were discovered Sunday night by firefighters responding to a blaze in their Salem apartment. Jamaal is hospitalized in critical condition and Erica is in stable condition.
Prosecutors say the 25-year-old Goodwin didn’t show indications of alcohol or drug use.
Gunbattle erupts in Syrian capital
ANTAKYA, Turkey — A rare gunbattle broke out early Monday between rebels and Syrian security forces in an upscale neighborhood of central Damascus, taking the violence that has ravaged many other parts of Syria to the heart of the capital and undermining government claims that it is asserting control after a year of unrest.
Residents of the western Mezzeh neighborhood, which is home to foreign embassies, government offices and senior officials, described hearing explosions and gunfire over several hours, starting early Monday morning. Many said this was the fiercest fighting yet in the capital since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule began a year ago.
The government and the rebels gave conflicting accounts of what had occurred. The official Syrian Arab News Agency said the battles erupted when government forces stormed a “terrorist” hideout in an apartment building in the area. It said two gunmen and a member of the security forces were killed.
The rebel Free Syrian Army said, however, that its fighters had launched an attack on the Political Security Directorate, a branch of the government security forces, using rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns.