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AROUND THE NATION

> MICHIGAN

Order prohibits bias against gender identity

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Gov. Jennifer Granholm has issued an order that bars discrimination against state workers based on their "gender identity or expression," which protects the rights of those who behave, dress or identify as members of the opposite sex.

The order adds gender identity to a list of other prohibited grounds for discrimination including religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, height, weight, marital status, politics, disability or genetic information.

"State employment practices and procedures that encourage nondiscriminatory and equal employment practices provide desirable models for the private sector and local governments," the resolution says.

> ARKANSAS

Army recruiter accused of seeking sex from girl

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) -- Police arrested an Army recruiter who they say tried to solicit sex from a 16-year-old girl he met during a high school visit.

Gregory J. DeBoer, 28, is charged with felony possession of child pornography, based on a photo of the girl, though police said he could soon face other charges.

The girl told police she met DeBoer during a recruiting trip to her school in October and that the two began communicating by telephone and the Internet the following day.

She said DeBoer asked her for photographs of herself, first clothed and then naked, and later asked her several times to meet for sex, but she refused, police said. Police seized three computers and three cell phones during searches of DeBoer's home and office. DeBoer is married and a father.

> TEXAS

Abortion aside, killing fetus is ruled murder

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Texas laws allow the killing of a fetus to be prosecuted as murder, regardless of the fetus' stage of development, but they do not apply to abortions, the state's highest court has ruled.

Wednesday's ruling by the Court of Criminal Appeals rejected an appeal by Terence Lawrence, who said his right to due process was violated because he was prosecuted for two murders for killing a woman and her fetus.

The court ruled unanimously that state laws declaring a fetus an individual with protections do not conflict with the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling that protects a woman's right to an abortion.

"The Supreme Court has emphasized that states may protect human life not only once the fetus has reached viability but 'from the outset of the pregnancy,' " the court said.

Lawrence was sentenced to life in prison for the 2004 shooting death of his girlfriend, Antwonyia Smith, and the couple's unborn child.

> TEXAS

Mayor won't resign despite indecency plea

POTEET, Texas (AP) -- The mayor has pleaded guilty to indecent conduct toward two girls and is barred from going to City Hall because it is near a youth center. But he still doesn't plan to resign.

Mayor Lino Donato entered the pleas Oct. 31 to three counts of indecency, cutting short a trial on charges that he exposed himself to two girls and improperly touched one of them.

He planned to resign at a meeting a week later, but he changed his mind, saying he wasn't guilty.

As a registered sex offender, Donato is required to stay more than 1,000 feet from places where children congregate, and the Atascosa Boxing Club and Youth Center is less than that distance from City Hall.

The mayor's term doesn't expire until May 2009. He can't be forced out because he received "deferred adjudication", which technically isn't a conviction.

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