National news briefs —Nov. 9

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Gay-marriage fight over

Washington state has approved gay marriage, joining Maine and Maryland as the first states to pass same-sex marriage by popular vote. With about three-quarters of the expected ballots counted Thursday, Referendum 74 was maintaining its lead of 52 percent. Opponents conceded the race Thursday, while supporters declared victory a day earlier. R-74 asked people to approve or reject a state law legalizing same-sex marriage that legislators passed earlier this year. That law was signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire but has never taken effect. It was on hold pending the election’s outcome. Washington is one of four states where voters were asked about the issue this election cycle. Maryland and Maine approved gay marriage Tuesday night, while Minnesota voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.


Florida count drags on

Despite the never-ending counting of ballots in Florida, Mitt Romney’s campaign said Thursday that President Barack Obama was on his way to victory there. With ballots from only Democratic-leaning counties left to be counted, the final tally was not expected to change the outcome, Republicans acknowledged. By Thursday afternoon, the state Division of Elections said on its website that Obama led Romney 49.9 percent to 49.2 percent, with a difference of about 55,000 votes from more than 8 million votes cast. Several counties continued to count absentee ballots throughout the day. An official declaration is expected today, and an Obama victory would give him 332 electoral votes to Romney’s 206.


Officials sue for custody

Officials are asking a judge to terminate the parental rights of a couple accused of starving one of their four children, saying the 8-year-old boy suffered egregious harm and it’s not in the best interest of any child to be in their care. The boy, who weighed less than 35 pounds last month, was released from the hospital Wednesday, Mayo Clinic officials said Thursday. He’s now in foster care, and his siblings remain with their parents, Russell and Mona Hauer.

Compiled from wire reports.

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