WASHINGTON STATE: Voters OK same-sex marriage
Washington has approved gay marriage, joining Maine and Maryland as the first states to pass same-sex marriage by popular vote. With about three-quarters of the expected ballots counted Thursday, Referendum 74 was maintaining its lead of 52 percent. Opponents conceded the race Thursday. Supporters had declared victory a day earlier. R-74 asked people to approve or reject a state law legalizing same-sex marriage that legislators passed earlier this year. It was signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire but had not taken effect, pending the election's outcome. Voters in Maryland and Maine approved gay marriage Tuesday night. Minnesota voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.
VIRGINIA: Bus driver convicted in 4 deaths
Several survivors of a deadly bus crash last year told Thursday of their harrowing early-morning ride, about their swerving from side to side and changing speeds erratically before careening off Interstate 95. After the testimony, a judge convicted Kin Yiu Cheung of four counts of involuntary manslaughter in the crash that killed four and injured dozens. Witnesses said the erratic driving occurred for up to an hour as Cheung drank coffee and Red Bull energy drinks. Finally, they said, he nodded off at the wheel and lost control of the low-fare Sky Express bus, which was headed from Greensboro, N.C., to New York. Cheung, who listened to the trial through an interpreter, was taken to jail to await his Jan. 23 sentencing. He faces up to 40 years.
IOWA: Kids locked up; parents charged
A mother and father have been charged with false imprisonment after their adopted teenage children told of being locked in the basement of their suburban Des Moines home for weeks, only allowed out for school, their meals passed under the locked door. The 13-year-old girl and 14-year-old boy said it was a form of discipline. The state Department of Human Services said it removed the teens from the home in Ankeny after one of them told a school employee about their confinement. The 45-year-old father and 44-year-old mother, who were arrested Wednesday, were also charged with neglect or abandonment of a dependent person.