Same-sex marriage expands. The governor of Hawaii is expected today to sign a bill legalizing gay marriage in the state. The bill, passed by the state Senate yesterday, is expected to take effect Dec. 2. Gov. Neil Abercrombie, a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage, pushed the issue by calling a special session of the state legislature to address it because lawmakers didn’t have enough votes to authorize the session themselves. State Rep. Bob McDermott filed a lawsuit to try to stop the special session and has promised a new challenge to the law once Abercrombie signs the bill. A judge said he would take the case only after the law fully passes. Hawaii is poised to become the 15th state to legalize gay marriage.
Aiming high. Skyscraper experts have declared One World Trade Center, slated to open next year, the tallest building in the United States. The verdict by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat came after a debate over whether the skyscraper’s 408-foot needle should count in its official height measurement. Without the needle, the building on the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks measures shorter than Chicago’s Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower. The council decided the needle was not just a needle, but rather part of the building’s “architectural expression.” With the needle, One World Trade Center is 1,776 feet tall, a number corresponding to founding year of the United States.
State of denial. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford doesn’t think his recent history of buying and using illegal drugs is cause for him to resign. The Toronto City Council disagrees but doesn’t have the power to fire Ford at this point. Earlier today, the City Council voted almost unanimously to ask Ford to take a leave of absence in light of his admission last week that he smoked crack cocaine in a “drunken stupor” last year. At the meeting, Ford also admitted to buying illegal drugs. Though he claimed to be embarrassed and humiliated, he defied the Council and refused to step down. He insisted he was not a drug addict and said he is still a “positive role model for kids who are down-and-out.” The Council may force the mayor out of office only if he is committed of a crime.
Washington split on Iran. Congress wants to turn up the heat on Iran after international negotiations last weekend about Iran’s nuclear program were unproductive. In a hearing earlier today, the House Foreign Affairs Committee discussed the option of adding new economic sanctions on Iran despite the Obama administration’s pleas for more time to work out a deal. Congress and the White House have differing outlooks on the success of further negotiations. The Obama administration says it is on the verge of a historic breakthrough with Iran. “Congress is far more skeptical when it comes to the Iranians than some of the people trying to pursue a deal,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said at the hearing.