News briefs from Tribune news services
Cemeteries won't take bomb suspect's body
Boston • Nineteen days after Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev died following a gunbattle with police, cemeteries still refused to take his remains and government officials deflected questions about where he could be buried.
On Wednesday, police in Worcester, west of Boston, pleaded for a resolution, saying they were spending tens of thousands of dollars to protect the funeral home where Tsarnaev's body is being kept amid protests.
"We are not barbarians," police Chief Gary Gemme said. "We bury the dead."
Tsarnaev was fatally wounded in Watertown, just outside Boston, after police confronted him in a stolen car. He was shot several times by police, then was run over with the car by his fleeing brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, his accomplice in the deadly April 15 bombing, authorities have said.
The bombing, involving pressure cookers packed with explosives and shrapnel near the marathon's finish line, killed three people and injured about 260 others.
Minnesota set to legalize gay marriage
St. Paul, Minn. • Just six months after Minnesota voters turned back an effort to ban gay weddings, lawmakers are poised to make the state the first in the Midwest to pass a law allowing them.
The startling shift comes amid a rapid evolution of public opinion nationally in the debate over marriage. But with Minnesota and possibly Illinois set to broaden the definition to include same-sex couples, coastal states may soon have some company in enacting changes.
In November, voters unexpectedly defeated a measure that would have banned same-sex marriage in the Minnesota Constitution, even after more than two-dozen states passed similar bans. That prompted gay marriage supporters to quickly go on offense.
Those efforts culminate Thursday with a vote in the state House that Democratic leaders assured would pass. With the state Senate expected to follow suit, Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton could sign a bill as early as next week.
Immigration bill could aid Social Security
Washington • A bipartisan immigration bill pending in the Senate would strengthen the Social Security trust fund by adding millions of workers to tax rolls, and provide a boost to the overall economy, according to an analysis Wednesday by the Social Security Administration.
The finding came in a letter to Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who requested the analysis, from Stephen C. Gross, chief actuary for the agency.
The news could help the bill, which has been attacked by some conservatives as overly costly, as the Senate Judiciary Committee prepares to take up the legislation for amendments and votes beginning Thursday.
Judge: Cheerleaders can use Bible signs
Houston • A judge has ruled that cheerleaders at a Southeast Texas high school can display banners emblazoned with Bible verses at football games.
State District Judge Steve Thomas ruled Wednesday the Kountze High School cheerleaders' banners are constitutionally permissible. In a copy of the ruling obtained by Beaumont station KFDM, Thomas determined that no law "prohibits cheerleaders from using religious-themed banners at school sporting events."
The ruling ends the case in Thomas' court. A lawsuit over the banners had been scheduled for trial June 24.
In October, Thomas granted an injunction requested by the cheerleaders allowing them to continue displaying religious-themed banners pending the lawsuit's outcome.