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  |   April 2, 2013 at 5:00 PM
GOP Sen. Kirk in favor of gay marriage

WASHINGTON, April 2 (UPI) -- Two U.S. senators came out in support of gay marriage Tuesday -- one being Mark Kirk of Illinois, just the second Republican senator to do so.

The other is Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del.

Kirk, who returned to the Capitol recently after suffering a debilitating stroke, expressed his views on gay marriage a week after Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman, who was considered a top choice to serve as Mitt Romney's running mate in the 2012 election, announced he had changed his mind after his son, Will, came out as gay.

USA Today said Kirk has spoken openly about the transformative experience he's had since recovering from the stroke. He had to learn how to walk again.

"Our time on this Earth is limited, I know that better than most," Kirk said in a statement. "Life comes down to who you and love and who loves you back -- government has no place in the middle."

Kirk doesn't face re-election in deep-blue Illinois until 2016.

As for Carper, he became just the latest in a torrent of Democrats to endorse gay marriage after President Barack Obama made his support official last year -- after Vice President Joe Biden beat him to the punch.

Carper told The Washington Post he applied the "golden rule" to the question.

"It calls on us to treat others as we want to be treated," Carper said. "That means, to me, that all Americans ultimately should be free to marry the people they love and intend to share their lives with, regardless of their sexual orientation, and that's why today, after a great deal of soul searching, I'm endorsing marriage equality."


Police have few clues in DA, wife's deaths

KAUFMAN, Texas, April 2 (UPI) -- Authorities in Texas say they have few clues in their investigation into the deaths of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia.

Officials said they are starting virtually from scratch in their search for whomever gunned down the couple Saturday in their home, even though local, state and federal authorities are searching for information, WFAA-TV, Dallas, reported Tuesday.

Officials also are stymied in their investigation into who killed Mark Hasse, McLelland's assistant prosecutor, in a parking lot in January.

Justice officials across the state are on high alert, unsure if or when a similar attack might occur, CNN said.

"This, I think, is a clear concern to individuals who are in public life, particularly those who deal with some very mean and vicious individuals -- whether they're white supremacy groups or drug cartels that we have," Texas Gov. Rick Perry said.

McLelland's office was one of many Texas and federal agencies involved in a multiyear investigation that resulted in an indictment last year of 34 alleged members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas on racketeering charges.

The possibility has been raised that the McLellands' and Hasse's deaths may be linked to white supremacists, CNN and other media outlets said.


Suspected killer released 4 years early

CENTENNIAL, Colo., April 2 (UPI) -- The man believed to have killed the head of the Colorado prison system would have still been behind bars if he had been properly sentenced, officials say.

A Colorado court apologized Monday for the judicial error that led to Evan Ebel's release in March, The Denver Post reported.

Ebel, who was gunned down by police in Texas on March 21, is suspected of killing Nathan Leon, a pizza delivery driver in Denver, March 17 and Tom Clements, the head of the state Department of Corrections March 19.

Ebel was already serving a prison sentence in Colorado in 2008 when he pleaded guilty to assaulting a guard under an agreement that added four years to his sentence. But the judge failed to specify the new sentence was to be consecutive, allowing Ebel to be released in late January.

"I was sick to the pit of my stomach. I would have preferred a public apology to me and my family," Katie Leon said. "Obviously this was something that could have been prevented. My husband would still be here today. The father of my children would still be here today. Tom Clements would still be here today."

A spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections said that if a judge does not specify whether a sentence is to be consecutive or concurrent prisons must automatically assume it is concurrent.


Cuomo: Malcolm Smith should cooperate

NEW YORK, April 2 (UPI) -- A New York state senator and New York City councilman were arrested Tuesday, accused of trying to rig this year's New York mayoral race, officials said.

State Sen. Malcolm Smith, D-Queens, a contractor and real estate developer who became the state Senate's first black president, and City Councilman Daniel J. Halloran III, R-Queens, were among those arrested in the corruption case that cut across political lines, The New York Times reported.

Speaking in Buffalo, N.Y., Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Smith faces very serious charges.

"I hope that [Smith] fully cooperates with the investigation and I hope that the investigation is thorough and speedy and gets to the facts," Cuomo said. "But it is very troubling," the New York Daily News reported.

"We have zero tolerance for any violation of the public integrity and the public trust."

Other political leaders arrested included GOP county-level leaders in Queens and the Bronx, as well as the mayor Spring Valley in Rockland County and her deputy, a criminal complaint indicated.

"Elected officials are called public servants because they are supposed to serve the people. Public service is not supposed to be a shortcut to self-enrichment," FBI New York Assistant Director in Charge George Venizelos said in a statement. "People in New York, in Spring Valley -- in any city or town in this country -- rightly expect their elected or appointed representatives to hold themselves to a higher standard. At the very least, public officials should obey the law."

"As alleged, these defendants did not obey the law; they broke the law and the public trust," Venizelos said. "There is a price to pay for that kind of betrayal."

The criminal complaint was unsealed Tuesday. Smith, Halloran and the others were to appear Tuesday before a U.S. magistrate judge in White Plains, N.Y.

The complaint indicated Smith agreed with a cooperating witness and an undercover FBI agent, posing as a rich real estate developer, to pay off GOP county committees leaders in New York's five boroughs to get certificates authorizing him to run for mayor as a Republican even though he was a registered Democrat.

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