- Associated Press - Thursday, June 12, 2014
Walker says his views on gay marriage don’t matter

OAK CREEK, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says his personal opposition to same-sex marriage doesn’t matter because the ban on gay marriages was put into the state constitution by a vote of the people.

Walker was asked Thursday about a federal judge’s decision last week striking down Wisconsin’s ban on gay marriages as unconstitutional. Walker voted for the ban in 2006 and advocated strongly for its passage.

But Walker has lately dodged questions about his position on same-sex marriages as polls show public opinion turning in favor of it.

Walker said Thursday, “My position has been clear. I voted in the past. It really doesn’t matter.”

Walker says he supports fellow Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen defending the amendment from a legal challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union.

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Walker largely silent of late on same-sex marriage

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Gov. Scott Walker has a history of forcefully opposing same-sex marriage in Wisconsin, but in the wake of the state’s ban on gay marriages being found unconstitutional the Republican leader said Thursday that his own views about the issue do not matter.

Walker, who is running for re-election this year and eyeing a bid for president in 2016, continued to largely duck questions about the state’s ban he voted for in 2006, as hundreds of gay couples wed in the last week and polls show public attitudes shifting in favor of allowing same-sex marriages.

Walker campaigned strongly in support of the ban nine years ago.

“We must change the Wisconsin State Constitution to say that marriage is to be between one man and one woman,” Walker said in November 2005 during a brief run for governor that year. “My belief in this position is even stronger today.”

Walker joined with 59 percent of voters statewide to add the ban to the state constitution in 2006. Even though he pushed for it to be approved then, Walker now says his position is irrelevant.

“My position has been clear. I voted in the past. It really doesn’t matter,” Walker said in response to questions about the issue following a campaign event Thursday.

He also previously voted as a member of the state Assembly for a bill in 1997 to prohibit same-sex marriages and declare those conducted in other states to be invalid.

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Judge backs Alberta Clipper pipeline expansion

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - An administrative law judge recommends that Minnesota regulators approve an expansion of Enbridge Energy’s Alberta Clipper crude oil pipeline across northern Minnesota.

Enbridge wants to increase the line’s capacity from the current 570,000 barrels per day to 800,000 by adding new pumping stations.

Judge Eric Lipman concluded Thursday that Enbridge has demonstrated a need for the added capacity. His recommendations now go to the Public Utilities Commission, which must approve major energy projects in Minnesota.

Climate change activists oppose the Alberta Clipper and other Enbridge construction or expansion projects in the works because they carry Canadian tar sands oil. Extracting that oil is an energy-intensive process that generates greenhouse gases.

The Alberta Clipper runs 1,000 miles from Hardisty, Alberta, across northeastern North Dakota and northern Minnesota to Superior, Wis.

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Madison man pleads guilty to killing brother

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A Madison man accused of fatally shooting his brother in March has pleaded guilty to a reduced homicide charge.

Assistant Public Defender Jon Helland says 39-year-old Bonnell Hanger was afraid of his 33-year-old brother, Fredrica, who had just been released from prison.

The Wisconsin State Journal (https://bit.ly/1pppyoVhttps://bit.ly/1pppyoV ) reports because Bonnell Hanger expressed fear about his brother, prosecutors agreed to let Hanger plead guilty to second-degree intentional homicide.

Hanger will be sentenced in Dane County in about two months.

According to the complaint, witnesses say Fredrica Hanger was in the driver’s seat of a car, parked outside his mother’s home, installing a car stereo. Bonnell Hanger arrived and knocked on the driver’s window, and an argument ensued. Bonnell Hanger pulled out a gun and shot his brother twice in the head.

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Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, https://www.madison.com/wsjhttps://www.madison.com/wsj

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