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Berkeley votes against welcoming detainees

BERKELEY | The Berkeley City Council, known for its forays into international affairs, has narrowly rejected a measure that would have welcomed freed Guantanamo Bay detainees to resettle in the college town.

The resolution would have asked Congress to allow Guantanamo prisoners who have been cleared of wrongdoing to resettle in the U.S. and would have invited “one or two” of them to live in Berkeley.

The measure lost in a 4-1 vote, with four abstentions, late Tuesday.

At least two other U.S. cities — Amherst and Leverett in Massachusetts — have approved similar resolutions aimed at clearing the way for Guantanamo detainees to come to the U.S. after their release from the American detention facility in Cuba.


Legislature OKs same-sex civil unions

HONOLULU | Hawaii’s Legislature approved a bill on Wednesday allowing civil unions for same-sex couples, sending the measure to the state’s Democratic governor, who has said he will sign it into law.

Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s office said he intends to sign the bill within 10 days, and civil unions would begin Jan. 1, 2012.

The Senate’s 18-5 vote came after years of thousands-strong rallies, election battles and passionate public testimony on an issue that has divided the Rainbow State for nearly two decades.

The measure grants gay and lesbian couples the same rights and benefits the state provides to married couples.

Hawaii would become the seventh state to grant essentially the same rights of marriage to same-sex couples without authorizing marriage itself.

Five states and the District of Columbia permit same-sex marriage.


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