National briefs: Gay marriage in Utah limbo

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DENVER -- The Utah governor's office said Wednesday that the state would not recognize more than 1,000 same-sex marriages performed over the past two weeks as it appealed a legal ruling that had overturned the state's ban on such unions.

The decision came two days after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked further same-sex marriages while state officials appealed a decision allowing such unions.

The stay effectively reinstated a law that limited marriages across the state to between one man and one woman.

The decision could have an immediate effect on hundreds of newly married gay couples who had been planning to file joint tax returns this year, who had applied to add their spouses to their health insurance plans, or who had taken steps to legally adopt their children.

Another 'Jihad Jane' case

PHILADELPHIA -- A woman who took her 6-year-old son from Colorado to live and train with a purported Islamic jihadist in the "Jihad Jane" plot was sentenced to eight years in prison Wednesday.

Jamie Paulin Ramirez, 35, told a federal judge she knew a week after arriving in Ireland to marry the man in 2009 that she had made a horrible mistake.

On Monday, the judge, U.S. District Judge Petrese Tucker, sentenced Colleen LaRose, a former Montgomery County resident better known by her screen name "Jihad Jane," to 10 years in prison for her role in plotting the assassination of a Swedish artist who offended some Muslims.

Prosecutors said Ramirez conspired with LaRose to obtain military-style training in South Asia.

Vermont heroin crisis

MONTPELIER, Vt. -- Gov. Peter Shumlin on Wednesday devoted his entire State of the State address to what he said was "a full-blown heroin crisis" gripping Vermont.

He said he wanted to reframe the public debate to encourage officials to respond to addiction as a chronic disease.

In 2013, he said, nearly twice as many people in Vermont died from heroin overdoses as the year before. Since 2000, Vermont has seen an increase of more than 770 percent in treatment for opiate addictions, up to 4,300 people in 2012.

Also in the nation ...

Former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords marked the third anniversary of being shot in the head at a political rally in Tucson, Ariz., by skydiving Wednesday, part of a stunning recovery. ... One sailor was killed and another was missing after a Navy helicopter crash Wednesday off the coast of Norfolk, Va., during a training mission.


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