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Wednesday Jan. 16, 2002

OSLO, Norway

Norway's finance minister marries his gay partner

Associated Press

In a breakthrough for gay rights and a show of tolerance by Norway's political right, the country's Conservative finance minister has married his longtime companion.

The union, first reported yesterday, came a year after Per-Kristian Foss announced he was gay - and won a standing ovation from his party's Oslo chapter.

Foss married Jan Erik Knarbakk earlier this month, becoming the first member of a Norwegian government to enter a legally binding gay partnership. The Finance Ministry confirmed the wedding took place at the Norwegian Embassy in Sweden but said Foss declined further comment.

"Yes, we entered a partnership at the embassy in Stockholm on Friday, Jan. 4," Foss was quoted as telling the Norwegian business newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv. "But beyond that, it is a private matter."

Norway prides itself on its progressiveness on gay rights. In 1993, it became the second country, after Denmark, to legally recognize homosexual unions. Now, same-sex marriages are allowed in many western European countries and in other places, including parts of Australia. In 2000, Vermont became the first - and only - U.S. state to recognize same-sex unions.

In Norway, same-sex couples in a legal union have the same rights as married couples, except for the right to adopt children and to have church weddings.


Boston-area priest arrested on child rape charges involving 15-year-old girl

Associated Press

A Roman Catholic priest was arrested on child rape charges for allegedly assaulting a 15-year-old girl repeatedly over a four-month period.

The Rev. Kelvin E. Iguabita, 33, was arrested Monday. He pleaded innocent Tuesday and was ordered held on $15,000 bail.

The arrest came as defrocked priest John J. Geoghan went on trial on the charges of molesting a 10-year-old boy in 1991. Geoghan also faces two more criminal trials and 84 lawsuits. More than 130 people have claimed he fondled or raped them during the three decades he served in Boston-area parishes.

Last week, Cardinal Bernard Law publicly apologized to Geoghan's alleged victims and ordered clergy and volunteers to report allegations of abuse to authorities.

In a statement Tuesday, the Archdiocese of Boston said Iguabita would not be given any assignment pending the outcome of the criminal charges and a church review. The archdiocese said Iguabita took a leave of absence last July but did not say why.

Iguabita was assigned to All Saints Parish in Haverhill as parochial vicar when the alleged assaults took place in 2000, police said. The girl did light housekeeping in the church rectory on Saturday mornings.

"At no time did I think it was right. Part of me wanted to go along with it because he was my priest," the girl said in a statement to police.

Joseph Gannon, an attorney for Iguabita, did not immediately return calls for comment.


Salmon defends term limits in response to Hull criticism

Associated Press

Responding to Gov. Jane Hull's criticism of legislative term limits, gubernatorial candidate Matt Salmon said Tuesday the voter-approved restrictions help keep lawmakers beholden to the public.

"I just don't buy the notion that politicians must take orders from staffers and lobbyists," Salmon said. "Career politicians are the No. 1 special interest we should not let back in the State Capitol."

Hull said Monday that lawmakers should consider asking voters to relax or eliminate term limits for legislators because the limits force turnover that leaves staffers and lobbyists with too much influence.

Voters approved term limits in 1992 for legislators and statewide officeholders. House and Senate members are limited to four consecutive two-year terms in the same office, though they can run again after a two-year interlude or run right away for a seat in the other chamber.

Salmon, a candidate for the GOP nomination for governor, honored a voluntary term limits pledge and did not seek re-election to the U.S. House after three terms.



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