WASHINGTON (AP) — Tens of thousands of people are expected to participate in a march on the National Mall ahead of the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
The march scheduled Saturday comes a few days before the actual anniversary of the Aug. 28, 1963, event that featured the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and his "I Have a Dream" speech.
Saturday's event will be led by the Rev. Al Sharpton and King's son Martin Luther King III. After several speeches, participants will walk the half-mile from the Lincoln Memorial to the 2-year-old Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.
Organizers say they hope Saturday's event will serve to inspire people again to educate themselves about issues they see as making up the modern civil rights struggle.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — With gay marriage now legal in 13 states, some churches think it is only a matter of time before they are sued by gay couples.
That's why some Christian attorneys are advising churches to change their bylaws to include their belief that the Bible only allows marriage between one man and one woman.
Attorney Kevin Snider with the Christian legal group the Pacific Justice Institute is one of those recommending the bylaw change.
Snider says he doesn't know of any churches that have been sued yet, but some religious leaders have been threatened with lawsuits.
Critics say the changes are unnecessary.
Gay Christian Network Director Justin Lee says there is no movement to force churches to perform weddings that violate their religious beliefs.
GENEVA (AP) — The number of registered child refugees fleeing Syria's violence has topped the 1 million mark in another grim milestone of the deepening conflict, two U.N. agencies said Friday.
Roughly half of all the nearly 2 million registered refugees from Syria are children, and some 740,000 of those are under the age of 11, according to the U.N. refugee and children's agencies.
"This one millionth child refugee is not just another number," said Anthony Lake, the head of UNICEF, the U.N. children's agency. "This is a real child ripped from home, maybe even from a family, facing horrors we can only begin to comprehend."
The children's ordeals are not over once they escape Syria, said Antonio Guterres, the head of the Office for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, known as UNHCR.
"Even after they have crossed a border to safety, they are traumatized, depressed and in need of a reason for hope," he said.
His agency said it tries to ensure that babies born in exile are provided with birth certificates, preventing them from becoming stateless, and that all refugee families and children live in some form of safe shelter.
But the threats to refugee children are rising, the agencies say, including child labor, early marriage and the potential for sexual exploitation and trafficking. More than 3,500 children in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq have crossed Syria's borders unaccompanied or separated from their families, according to the U.N. figures.
The agencies say some 7,000 children are among the more than 100,000 killed in the unrest in Syria, which began in March 2011 and later exploded into a civil war.
Most of the refugees fleeing Syria have arrived in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. However, U.N. officials say that increasingly Syrians are fleeing to North Africa and Europe.
The two U.N. agencies estimate that more than 2 million children also have been displaced within Syria.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Friday the real number of Syrian refugees is "well over 2 million" if unregistered refugees are counted.
"The situation in Syria continues to worsen. The humanitarian suffering is alarming. Sectarian tensions have been ignited. Regional instability is spreading," Ban said in a speech in Seoul, South Korea.
"It is heartbreaking to see all these young people, children and women and refugees, who do not have any means, any hope for their country," he said. "They do not know when they will be able to return to their country."