|Peter Cooke via Utah Democratic Party|
Utah Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Says He Doesn't Stand With national Party On Same-Sex Marriage Platform
SALT LAKE CITY, UT -- The Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Utah, Peter Cooke, distanced himself from the party’s national platform declaring his opposition to same-sex marriage, civil unions plus speaking out against abortion- making exceptions for cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother- telling reporters;
"To me gay marriage is part of my religious belief and I support that and I respect other religious beliefs and I support and love those who are in the gay community," Cooke said. "I think what needs to be done in Utah is for us to all live together, be compassionate. That’s what the Democratic Party is showing."
His public remarks comes less than two days after the Democratic National Party voted to include language in the party’s platform that calls for recognition of same-sex marriages and defense of legal abortions.
Cooke told The Salt Lake Tribune that his opposition to same-sex marriage stems from his faith — he is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which has actively opposed same-sex unions in California and elsewhere — but he supports a state law that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, which the church has also supported.Cooke also told the paper that he wanted to make his positions clear on the polarizing issues, so he and Gov. Gary Herbert can have a substantive debate on the issues he believes Utahns care about — funding education, fostering good-paying jobs, protecting Hill Air Force Base and showing leadership in state government.
Despite his differences with the national Democratic Party, Cooke said he will be voting for President Obama over the presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney, although he said that he could work with either as governor.
Cooke also maintains that while he is opposed to Same-Sex marriages or civil unions, he is in favour of allowing same-sex couples the right to adopt children — a practise that is currently prohibited by Utah law.
Jury In Vermont Says Mennonite Minister Guilty Of Aiding Kidnapping In Notorious Lesbian Custody Feud
BURLINGTON, VT -- A U. S. District Court jury Tuesday has found a Virginia based Mennonite minister guilty of aiding and abetting in an international kidnapping case, by assisting a woman embroiled in a hotly disputed custody case with her former lesbian partner, in fleeing to Nicaragua with the child, a girl. Lisa Miller took the girl to Central America after denouncing homosexuality and losing a series of family court battles in Vermont with her former partner, Janet Jenkins.
In charging papers and throughout the trial, Federal prosecutors maintained that Kenneth Miller of Stuarts Draft, Virginia, helped orchestrate Miller's flight to Canada and ultimately to Nicaragua in 2009, despite court orders from family courts in both Vermont and Virginia that ordered Ms. Miller to honor visitation and custody orders. [The two Millers are not related.]
The high profile case has attracted attention from both Anti-Gay Christian "Family Values" organisations and legal groups along with support for Miller's former partner Janet Jenkins from LGBT advocacy groups including Lambda Legal.
Reuters reports that the jury deliberated only a few hours before finding Kenneth Miller guilty, who now faces the possibility of three years in prison although no sentencing date was set. Miller showed no reaction as the verdict was announced.
Jenkins and Miller were joined in a civil union in Vermont in 2000. After in vitro fertilization, Miller gave birth to Isabella two years later. Miller filed to dissolve the union in 2003. She got custody of Isabella, but a Vermont court gave Jenkins visitation rights.
She increasingly embraced conservative Christian ideals and renounced homosexuality.
Joshua Autrey, a lawyer for Kenneth Miller, did not dispute evidence about his client's role in organizing Lisa Miller's secretive flight days before a court-ordered visitation with Jenkins.
Instead, the defense attorney offered a nuanced legal argument that his client did not know about her intent to violate Jenkins' visitation rights. The attorney said Kenneth Miller helped her leave the country ahead of an anticipated Vermont family court ruling granting full custody to Jenkins.
An Amish-Mennonite pastor who worked in his family's garden-supply business, Kenneth Miller contacted Mennonites to drive Lisa Miller and Isabella to an airport in Canada in 2009 and pick her up in Nicaragua where the group runs a mission, according to court documents. ~ Reuters
Lisa Miller was indicted on international kidnapping charges in 2010, but U. S. Marshals ICE, and FBI agents have been unable to locate Miller or her daughter.
Nicaragua does not have an extradition treaty with the United States.