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March 18, 2013 at 10:00 PM
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Poll: Support for gay marriage increases

WASHINGTON, March 18 (UPI) -- Support for same-sex marriage reached 58 percent as more Americans say they think homosexuality is the way some people are, a Washington Post poll indicated.

Results of The Washington Post-ABC News poll released Monday indicate 36 percent said marriage for same-sex couples should be illegal.

Monday's poll results were a near-reverse of a poll 10 years ago when 37 percent favored same-sex marriage 55 percent opposed it, the Post said.

The Supreme Court takes up the question of same-sex marriage next week.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she supported same-sex marriage Monday in a video posted by Human Rights Campaign.

Nearly two-thirds of all Americans said the question should be decided for all states based on the U.S. Constitution, not each state making its own laws, results indicated.

Among young adults in the 18-to-29 age bracket, support for gay marriage is overwhelming, reaching a record 81 percent in the new poll. While support has increased among older adults, those aged 65 years and older remain opposed, with 44 percent saying same-sex marriage should be legal and 50 percent saying it should not.

Sixty-two percent of Americans said being gay is the way some people are, not something people choose to be, results indicated.

Currently, same-sex marriage is legal in nine states and the District of Columbia.

FBI: New leads in 1990 Boston art theft

BOSTON, March 18 (UPI) -- Federal agents say they've identified the thieves involved in the 1990 Isabella Steward Gardner Museum art heist in Boston and now they're looking for the art.

It was one of the largest property crimes in U.S. history, the FBI said Monday in a news release intended to focus attention on the crime, which occurred March 18, 1990.

The FBI says the thieves have ties to organized crime syndicates in Connecticut and Philadelphia. The bureau is seeking information from anyone who may know the current location of the 13 stolen works of art, which include rare paintings by Rembrandt and Vermeer.

"The FBI believes with a high degree of confidence that in the years after the theft, the art was transported to Connecticut and the Philadelphia region, and some of the art was taken to Philadelphia, where it was offered for sale by those responsible for the theft," Richard DesLauriers, special agent in charge of the FBI's Boston office, said in a statement.

"With that same confidence, we have identified the thieves, who are members of a criminal organization with a base in the Mid-Atlantic states and New England," he added.

Pope Francis' inaugural mass on tap

VATICAN CITY, March 18 (UPI) -- Pope Francis' inaugural mass at St. Peter's Square Tuesday will be marked by "simplicity," a Vatican spokesman said Monday.

The mass, which Francis will precede with a tour around St. Peter's Square, will begin at 9:30 a.m., Italy's ANSA news agency reported.

The celebration, which the Rev. Federico Lombardi said will be marked by "simplicity," will begin at St. Peter's tomb, where the Piscatory ring, a ring cast in gold for each pope, and the Pallium woolen robe of the papacy will handed off to Francis, the Vatican spokesman said.

Then, the Gospels will be sung in Greek and communion will be given by the deacons of the church square and 500 other priests, but not by the pope.

Delegations from 132 countries and international organizations are expected to attend the mass. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who is Catholic, will be representing his country as President Barack Obama is in Israel.

Limbaugh blasts RNC

WASHINGTON, March 18 (UPI) -- Radio commentator Rush Limbaugh knocked Republican National Committee leaders Monday for suggesting conservatives are "disrespectful" and "out of touch."

"I'm sorry, but we're not disrespectful to anybody," Limbaugh said. "Look at what these focus groups have got these poor guys believing. Look at this, [GOP critics say,] 'Our party is narrow minded.' Republicans are not narrow minded."

Limbaugh said while that may be the perception, it's not the truth, and conservatives are "not out of touch," the Washington publication Politico reported.

"We are in touch with the founding of this country. We are in touch with the greatness in this country and its people," he said.

RNC leaders put forth guidelines for the party to follow as it tries to expand its base going into the 2014 election cycle.

Limbaugh said the approach is wrongheaded and will result in the Republicans shooting themselves in the foot if they abandon long-held positions such as opposing same-sex marriage.

"If the party makes that [gay marriage] something official that they support, they're not going to pull the homosexual activist voters away from the Democrat Party, but they are going to cause their base to stay home and throw their hands up in utter frustration," Limbaugh said.

"Whether they like it or not, the Republican Party's base is sufficiently large that they cannot do without them and their problem is they don't like them. It really isn't any more complicated than that."

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