By Jeff Mason WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will sign an executive order on Monday barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, senior administration officials said. The White House said last month that Obama would issue the order but declined to give details on its content or the timing of when he would do so. The order will allow some exemptions for religious groups that are federal contractors but not as much flexibility as the groups had wanted. A religious organization would be barred from making hiring decisions based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
World leaders called for an immediate cease-fire in eastern Ukraine on Friday and demanded speedy access for international investigators to the crash site of the Malaysia Airlines jetliner shot down over the country's battlefields.
By Jim Forsyth SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - The Texas Rangers, the nearly 200-year-old law enforcement agency known for white cowboy hats and silver star badges, has named its first female lieutenant, officials said on Friday. Wende Wakeman started with the Texas Department of Public Safety, which includes the Rangers, as a Highway Patrol trooper in 1998. A 1993 order by Governor Ann Richards first allowed women into the force. The change was met with widespread derision, and many veteran Rangers retired in protest.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — State same-sex marriage bans have been falling around the country since June 2013, when the nation's highest court ordered the federal government to recognize state-sanctioned gay marriages. The remaining state bans all face legal challenges to overturn them.
A U.S. judiciary agency passed an amendment on Friday that will make more than 46,000 drug offenders eligible for early release from federal prison, unless Congress moves to block it. The U.S. Sentencing Commission voted unanimously on an amendment to the guidelines consulted by federal judges that will cut current sentencing terms by an average of 25 months for eligible offenders. If it does not, eligible drug offenders will have their sentences commuted by November 2015.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A staff member for a Pennsylvania congressman was arrested on Friday after he tried to carry a handgun and magazine into a House of Representatives office building, U.S. Capitol Police said. Ryan Shucard, press spokesman for Republican Representative Tom Marino, was arrested about 9:15 a.m. (1315 GMT) as he tried to enter the Cannon House Office Building. A metal detector showed he had a 9mm Smith & Wesson pistol and a magazine, police said in a statement. He was arrested and charged with carrying a pistol without a license, a felony. ...
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — For Jillian Owens, some of her passion for fashion was motivated by a desire for new garments without the creation of more waste. And, she says openly on her blog, "I was also quite broke and couldn't afford new clothes."