Religious groups have increased their pressure on the U.S. government to help end the GENOCIDE IN SUDAN'S DARFUR REGION. The Save Darfur Coalition, an alliance of 134 faith-based and humanitarian groups, gathered in Washington, D.C., on September 21 and said America must boost aid to African Union troops in Darfur and begin economic sanctions against the Sudanese government.

Americans United for Life (AUL) filed suit against Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich on September 14, challenging his rule that PHARMACIES MUST DISPENSE CONTRACEPTIVES and the morning-after pill. Representing the owners of five Illinois pharmacies, AUL argued that Blagojevich's rule violates a state right-of-conscience act.

Indonesian judges sentenced three women to three years in prison for ALLOWING MUSLIM CHILDREN IN A CHRISTIAN SUNDAY SCHOOL, Compass Direct reports. The September 1 ruling cited a 2002 act that prohibits using "deception, lies, or enticement" to convert children. The Muslim children did not convert. The women avoided receiving the maximum sentence for violating this act, which is five years in jail.

In September, California's State Assembly became the first legislative body in the United States to APPROVE A GAY-MARRIAGE BILL without a court directive to do so. The 41-35 vote would substitute "two persons" for "a man and a woman" in the state's family code. The state Senate earlier endorsed the measure 21-15. But Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill on September 29. Five years ago, the California public voted 61 percent to 39 percent not to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other countries and states.

Related Elsewhere:

More about the Save Darfur Coalition's D.C. gathering is available from The Christian Post.

Americans United for Life has a press release about its suit against Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Compass Direct has full reports of the Sunday school teachers sentenced to prison and the teachers' appeal.

More news about the California same-sex marriage bill includes:

Schwarzenegger vetoes California gay marriage bill | Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger followed through Thursday on his promise to veto a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, leaving the issue up to voters or judges who will likely face the volatile issue in the next year. (Associated Press, September 30, 2005)
Will California's gay marriage bill spur similar measures elsewhere? | California Lawmakers approve same-sex marriage, but the governor promises a veto. (The Christian Science Monitor, September 13, 2005)
Citing Prop. 22, Gov. Rejects Gay Marriage Bill | A day after California's Legislature became the first in the nation to pass a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced through an aide Wednesday that he would veto the measure "out of respect for the will of the people." (Los Angeles Times, September 8, 2005)

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