- The Washington Times - Friday, February 27, 2004

Same-sex couples exchange vows

NEW PALTZ, N.Y. — Up to a dozen homosexual couples began exchanging wedding vows on the steps of village hall yesterday in a spirited ceremony that opened another front on the growing national debate over homosexual “marriage.”

Officiating was Jason West, the 26-year-old Green Party mayor in this village 75 miles north of New York City, who joined Gavin Newsom of San Francisco as the country’s only mayors to “marry” same-sex couples.

More than 100 people, mostly supporters of homosexual “marriage,” turned out on the green across from village hall, outnumbering family members and friends of the couples there to “marry.” A few scattered protesters carried signs opposing homosexual “marriage.”

The ceremonies came a day after the state Health Department said New York’s domestic-relations law does not allow “marriage” licenses for same-sex couples.

Blair’s book set for March release

NEW YORK — Jayson Blair, the plagiarizing former New York Times reporter, admits in a memoir due to be published here next month that “I lied and I lied, and then I lied some more.”

Mr. Blair, whose exposure plunged the newspaper into crisis and cost its top two editors their jobs, also reveals that some of his best fabrications were the creation of “drug-fueled writing.”

“Burning Down My Master’s House” is scheduled to hit bookshelves on March 6 and, according to excerpts printed in several newspapers yesterday, Mr. Blair acknowledges his guilt but stops short of expressing any real remorse.

Mr. Blair was forced to resign from the Times in May last year after being exposed as a plagiarist and serial inventor in scores of stories.

In a message to staff, the Times’ current executive editor, Bill Keller, said there would be no formal response to Mr. Blair’s book.

“The author is an admitted fabricator,” Mr. Keller said. “The book pretends to be a mea culpa, but ends up spewing imaginary blame in all directions.”

Senators block bill over 9/11 probe

Two senators demanding that the independent investigation of the September 11 attacks be extended yesterday blocked passage of a highway bill needed to prevent the furlough on Monday of some 5,000 federal workers and a cutoff of highway money.

Sens. John McCain, Arizona Republican, and Joe Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, want House Republican leaders to agree to take up a bill next week that would extend for two months the activities of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. It is scheduled to end May 27.

Mr. McCain and Mr. Lieberman said the extension was needed because the administration has not fully cooperated with the commission, established by Congress to study the nation’s preparedness for and response to the September 11 attacks.

Review shows FBI’s discipline flawed

The FBI has a deeply flawed process for disciplining employees that leads to perceptions of favoritism and unfairness and is run by an office characterized by some as a snake pit that fails to attract top people, according to an independent review released yesterday.

The 70-page study of the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) concluded that morale suffers throughout the bureau because of a feeling among agents that managers are treated better in disciplinary cases than are rank-and-file employees.

Although the review could not find evidence of a systemic disparity, it concluded that “the perception itself has had an enormous adverse impact” on the agency.

The study was requested by FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III to deal with multiple misgivings about OPR raised in another internal Justice Department report.

State court doesn’t stop ‘marriages’

SAN FRANCISCO — The California Supreme Court declined a request by the state attorney general yesterday to immediately shut down the city’s homosexual “weddings” and nullify the nearly 3,500 “marriages” already performed.

More than 3,400 same-sex couples have tied the knot since the city began issuing “marriage” licenses two weeks ago, under the directive of Mayor Gavin Newsom.

At the prodding of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Attorney General Bill Lockyer asked the justices to intervene in the emotionally charged debate while they consider the legality of the “marriages.” But the justices declined, and told the city and a conservative group that opposes homosexual “marriages” to file new legal briefs by March 5.

From combined wire and dispatch reports

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