National Briefs: Gay marriage ruling appealed

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SALT LAKE CITY — The state of Utah filed its appeal of a gay marriage ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, becoming the first state to ask the justices to review a state same-sex marriage ban since the high court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year.

Utah officials announced last month they would take the state’s case directly to the high court rather than seek a review from the appeals court that in June ruled states cannot deprive gay and lesbian couples of the fundamental right to marry. That decision upheld a December ruling by a federal judge overturning Utah’s ban.

The unanswered and “immensely important” question before the Supreme Court is whether the 14th Amendment prohibits state same-sex marriage bans, the state wrote in its filing.

Peggy Tomsic, lead attorney for the three gay and lesbian couples who sued Utah, said in a statement that they “vehemently disagree with the notion that states can deny one of the most foundational rights to the millions of same-sex couples living across this great land.”

Gannett divides holdings

NEW YORK — The game of survival is on for newspapers, as USA Today owner Gannett on Tuesday became the most recent major media entity to say it will divide its print and broadcast divisions into separate companies.

As consumers continue to gravitate toward online sources of news and entertainment, newspapers are increasingly being asked to fend for themselves.

Gannett said its separation will leave the newspaper unit debt free and let both companies pursue growth and acquisitions more efficiently. But some observers see the rush to split less profitable print businesses from growing TV and digital operations as an ominous sign for the newspaper industry.

Detroit shooting suspect

DETROIT — On the November night that he fatally shot an unarmed young woman on his front porch, Theodore P. Wafer was jolted from his sleep in a living-room recliner by a banging noise so violent, he told a courtroom here Tuesday, that he was sure that someone — or some people — would be breaking into his house within seconds.

Renisha McBride, a 19-year-old black woman, was killed when Mr. Wafer, who is white, wordlessly confronted her with a shotgun blast through his front screen door. For unknown reasons, Ms. McBride had arrived at Mr. Wafer’s house in suburban Dearborn Heights after crashing into a parked car six blocks from his house. Mr. Wafer is facing second-degree murder, manslaughter, and weapons charges.

Sex-for-drugs scheme

CHICAGO — A former doctor was sentenced Tuesday to nearly 6 years in prison for trading prescription narcotics for sex on Craigslist.

In imposing the 5-year, 10-month sentence, U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer called the wrongdoing by Joshua D. Baron “very serious and disturbing.”

Baron pleaded guilty in March to victimizing 16 individuals over a five-year period..

SpaceX launches rocket

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off early Tuesday from Cape Canaveral, Fla., after its initial launch attempt was scrubbed with less than a minute on the countdown clock.

The Falcon 9 was carrying a commercial broadcast television satellite to space for Hong Kong-based Asia Satellite Telecommunications Company Ltd., or AsiaSat.

— Compiled from wire reports


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