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Caitlin MacNeal

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.

Articles by Caitlin

A Republican lawmaker in Utah introduced a state constitutional amendment in December that would exempt religious institutions from performing same-sex marriages even if the state is required to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, and he hopes that a court ruling against the state's same-sex marriage ban will help push his amendment through the legislature, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

"The truth is, the main reason I'm proposing this is that I just want people to relax," Rep. Jacob Anderegg (R) told the Tribune in an interview published Monday. "If they know they have their federal religious guarantees in writing, I hope they will just relax."

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Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), one of the lawmakers who helped craft the comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed in the Senate in June, on Saturday said he is still hopeful that the House will pass similar legislation.

"I'm still guardedly optimistic,” he told the Arizona Daily Star. "Frankly, I don't think that the speaker would have hired Becky Tallent if he hadn't been very interested in moving legislation. The question is how does he do it."

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A New Jersey appeals court on Monday upheld two strict gun control laws, measures New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) administration declined to defend in court, the Newark Star-Ledger reported.

The appeals court upheld two laws regulating concealed carry permits. One law requires applicants to prove that they need a permit. The second rule allowed retired police officers to easily obtain a permit, which excluded the two retired arson investigators who challenged the laws in court.

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Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, on Monday accused the New York Times of using its investigation into the Benghazi attack as a way to boost a potential 2016 run for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"Of course Secretary Clinton was in charge at the time, and you know there are just now a lot of rumors going and pushing about her running for president in 2016," he said on Fox News, as recorded by the Hill. "So I think they are already laying the groundwork."

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Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, on Sunday praised Pope Francis for changing the way the world views the Catholic church.

"This pope has successfully, finally shattered the caricature of the church that his predecessors have tried hard to do," Dolan said on ABC's "This Week." "What's that caricature? That the church is kind of mean and dour and always saying no and always telling us what we can't do and always telling us why we should be excluded. He's saying, no, come on in, the church is about warmth and tenderness."

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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Sunday said that he has been trying to avoid the politics of Washington, D.C.

"This is a city where it's all politics all the time, and I'm trying to do my best not to pay attention to the politics," he said in an interview with ABC's "This Week." "I know that's hard to believe, because no one in this town does that."

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