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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois moved closer Thursday to becoming the 10th state in the nation where same-sex couples can legally wed, after the Senate voted to lift a ban on gay marriage. Senators voted 34-21 to approve the measure, sending it on to the state House where Democrats also hold a majority. Gov. Pat Quinn, a Chicago Democrat, has said he will sign the bill if the House approves it. The bill's sponsor, Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, called it "a vote for the history books."
NEW YORK (AP) — Emma Bing, the inspiration for the pregnancy bible "What to Expect When You're Expecting," has given birth in Los Angeles to a boy. Lennox Page Ali, whose father is musician Russell Ali, was born Tuesday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, weighing in at 5 pounds, 15 ounces, family spokeswoman Heidi Schaeffer said. "Mother and child are doing very well and grandparents Heidi and Erik Murkoff are ecstatic," gushed Schaeffer.
NEW YORK (AP) — Reginald Hudlin, director of films like "Boomerang" and "House Party," never expected to be going to the Oscars as a best-picture-nominated producer of a slavery-era spaghetti Western by Quentin Tarantino. "I didn't think it was happening when it was happening," Hudlin says, laughing.
NEW YORK (AP) — Katie Couric is losing sleep over some odd 911 calls. New York City police said Thursday they had been called to Couric's Manhattan home several times recently because of 911 calls traced to a phone listed there. The 911 operator hears only static, but police are compelled to answer each call. The calls come on Tuesdays at 2 a.m., as Couric told an audience at her talk show's taping this week.
NEW YORK (AP) — Millions of people have watched Maggie Smith on "Downton Abbey." But she's not one of them. The 78-year-old actress, who portrays Lady Grantham in the popular PBS series, told "60 Minutes" that she hasn't watched the drama because doing so would only make her agonize over her performance. She said she may watch it someday. Smith told Steve Kroft, in an interview to be televised Sunday, that what she takes from the role is "the delight of acting."
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — As some Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature weigh whether to support legalizing same-sex weddings, an analysis of gay-marriage votes from other states shows that GOP lawmakers who backed it often faced consequences, including loss of their seats.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Six applicants for a job as a Hennepin County sheriff's deputy were disqualified in a recent round of hiring. The reason for the disqualification comes down to their tattoos and where they're located.
BOSTON (AP) — A preview of John F. Kennedy memorabilia including notes by his special assistant on the day the president was assassinated is drawing hundreds of people to the northern Massachusetts town of Amesbury. David Powers, who died in 1998, was Kennedy's assistant and close personal friend of his and his wife, Jackie. Powers also was the first curator of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston until he retired in 1994.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Epic Records is going to "great efforts" to take down a new Future remix leaked over the weekend with a vulgar Lil Wayne lyric that has offended the family of Emmett Till. The New Orleans rapper made a sexual reference to the beating death of Till, a 14-year-old Chicago boy tortured and shot in Mississippi in 1955 for whistling at a white woman. Till's family objected and the Rev. Jesse Jackson reached out to his management, The Blueprint Group, on the family's behalf.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A trio of Republican state senators is pushing to bar law enforcers from using remotely piloted drones in Minnesota for evidence gathering except in rare circumstances. Legislation introduced Thursday would allow people to sue if a law enforcement agency violates the restrictions and would prohibit evidence gained from a drone from being used in a criminal trial.