Nation briefs 1/12/04

Monday, January 12, 2004

Archbishop O'Malley opposes gay marriage

BOSTON -- Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley urged Catholic lawyers on Sunday to oppose gay marriage, saying the institution of marriage and the family are under assault and lawyers need to help protect them. He didn't give specifics on what the lawyers could do to protect marriage and the family. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in November that same-sex couples have a right to marry in the state, a ruling applauded as a civil rights milestone by gay activists.

Ban on affirmative action may show on Mich. ballot

DETROIT -- A group headed by a state legislator is working to put an initiative on next fall's ballot that would keep Michigan's college and universities from selecting students based in part on race. The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative officially kicks off its petition drive today. The idea for the petition drive came about after the Supreme Court in June upheld a general affirmative action admissions policy at the University of Michigan law school.

Union: Talks in grocery strike unsuccessful

LOS ANGELES -- Four days of secret, informal negotiations between Southern California grocery workers who have been on strike for three months and their employers ended Sunday without success, a union spokeswoman said. Representatives from seven local unions and from the grocery chains Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons met at a secret location without a federal mediator in hopes of producing a settlement, said Ellen Anreder, a spokeswoman for the United Food and Commercial Workers.

Northeast's bitter cold blamed in two deaths

The bitter cold that gripped the Northeast through the weekend and iced over roads was blamed for at least two deaths, including that of a Philadelphia man found inside a home without heat. The man, whose identity had not been determined Sunday, died of hypothermia early Saturday, said Jeff Moran, a spokesman for the Philadelphia Health Department. Temperatures in the city had dropped to 4 degrees that morning. In western New York, an 18-year-old died after he lost control of his car on an icy road late Friday and struck a tree, state police said.

Damage control: Stewart uses Web to rally support

NEW YORK -- True to her perfectionist reputation, Martha Stewart is using a stylish and highly detailed personal Web site to tell her side of the story as her high-stakes trial approaches. Crisis-management experts say the site,, is remarkably thorough. It is updated almost daily with letters from fans, supportive newspaper editorials and fresh pictures of the domestic style maven. People close to Stewart, speaking on condition of anonymity, say she is heavily involved with the site even in her final days of intense pretrial preparation. She is due in court Jan. 20.

-- From wire reports

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