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Gun control supporters turn to new front: Corporate America

Gun control supportersThe American gun control movement is going corporate.

Still reeling from the stinging legislative defeats of 2013, proponents of tougher firearm regulations are increasingly turning their focus to private sector campaigns.

Gun control groups have claimed victories in recent months, successfully pushing Starbucks to declare guns unwelcome in stores and persuading Facebook to crack down on unregulated firearm solicitations.  With no end in sight to the congressional gridlock that has thwarted more stringent federal gun laws, groups say they will continue to apply pressure on major companies.

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Maryland Senate votes to ease marijuana penalties

Maryland pot lawThe politics of Maryland lawmakers are increasingly reflecting the shift in public opinion on marijuana use, as today the Maryland Senate passed a bill, 36 to 8, that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of the drug.

If the bill passes the House, it means those found with less than 10 grams of on their person would not be charged with a crime, and would only be subject to a civil fine of $100.

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Federal judge rules that Tennessee must recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages

Tennessee must recognize out of state gay marriageTennessee must recognize the legal same-sex marriages of three couples who wed in other states, a federal judge in Nashville ruled on Friday in a limited decision that echoed a similar case in neighboring Kentucky.

Judge Aleta Trauger granted the couples a preliminary injunction that requires Tennessee to recognize their marriages pending a final decision on the constitutionality of Tennessee’s ban on same-sex nuptials.

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Sam Adams pulls sponsorship from Boston St. Paddy's parade

Sam Adams pulls St. Patrick's day sponsorshipSam Adams has decided to withdraw its sponsorship from the annual South Boston St. Patrick's Day parade Sunday after negotiations to allow a gay group to march in the parade broke down.

Boston Beer Company, which makes Sam Adams beers, said it was pulling its participation from the parade after pressure from Club Cafe, a popular South End gay bar.

Club Cafe had issued a statement Thursday on its Facebook page, announcing it would no longer serve Sam Adams so long as Boston Beer Company continued its sponsorship of the parade and the parade continued to refuse to allow LGBT people to march openly.

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Safety group claims 303 deaths linked to recalled GM cars

GM airbag deathsAn auto safety group says federal data show there were 303 deaths in recalled General Motors cars in which airbags did not deploy, but GM says the report misrepresents raw information about crashes.

The Center for Auto Safety, a public interest group started by Ralph Nader and Consumers Union, has written to federal safety regulators charging that the number of accidents is far greater than being admitted by GM.

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U.S. lifts ban blocking BP from new government contracts

BP ban liftedThe U.S. government lifted a ban on Thursday that excluded BP from new federal contracts, after the British oil major filed a lawsuit saying it was being unfairly penalized for its 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill.

The Environmental Protection Agency and BP said they reached an agreement ending the prohibition on bidding for federal contracts on everything from fuel supply contracts to offshore leases after the company committed to a set of safety, ethical and corporate governance requirements.

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Eight same-sex couples sue Florida for not recognizing out-of-state marriages

Rick ScottThe American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Florida filed a lawsuit against the state Wednesday night on behalf of SAVE, an LGBT rights organization, and eight same-sex couples whose out-of-state marriages Florida does not recognize.

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, the same-sex marriages legally offered in 17 states gained recognition from the federal government. SCOTUS did not rule on section 2 of DOMA, however, which allows states to choose whether or not to recognize legal same-sex marriages performed in other states, and in 2008, Florida voted to pass a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

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