National Briefs: 2 gay union bans tossed

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CHICAGO — A U.S. appeals court issued a scathing, unequivocal ruling Thursday declaring that gay marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana violated the U.S. Constitution — a decision released a little more than a week after oral arguments.

The unanimous, 40-page decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago blasted the states’ justifications for their bans, several times singling out the argument that only marriage between a man and a woman should be allowed because it is — simply — tradition.

It also laid into another argument from the states that gays should not be allowed to marry because, on their own, they can’t procreate, saying that rationale “is so full of holes that it cannot be taken seriously.”

Trial for hot-car death

MARIETTA, Ga. — More than two months after his son’s death in a hot car, a Georgia man who prosecutors say sat in his office exchanging nude photos with women while his son languished for hours was charged with murder Thursday.

A Cobb County grand jury indicted Justin Ross Harris on multiple charges, including malice murder, felony murder and cruelty to children. The malice murder charge indicates that prosecutors intend to prove Mr. Harris intentionally left his 22-month-old son Cooper in the hot car to die.

The eight-count indictment also includes charges related to sexually explicit exchanges prosecutors say Mr. Harris had with an underage girl.

Druggist tied to outbreak

BOSTON — A pharmacist tied to a 2012 outbreak of meningitis in the U.S. was detained as he sought to board a flight from Boston to Hong Kong in the first arrest stemming from an epidemic that killed 64 people and infected hundreds.

Glenn Chin, 46, a former supervisor at New England Compounding Center, the now-bankrupt pharmaceutical company at the heart of the outbreak, was held Thursday at Logan International Airport and charged with one count of mail fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston said in a statement.

Cash-strapped Guard

WASHINGTON — The National Guard is short on cash, and it will cut into training this month for soldiers in the Army National Guard across the country.

The National Guard Bureau determined it is about $101 million short in its Army National Guard personnel account, said a spokesman, Capt. John Fesler. The shortfall applies through the end of fiscal 2013, which ends Sept. 30. The financial strain was caused by fewer guardsmen deploying overseas, where they are paid from a different Pentagon operations account, and higher than expected attendance at training earlier this year.

White House tech staff

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Thursday named executives from Google and Twitter to tops spots on his technology policy team.

Megan Smith, a vice president at Google, will serve as chief technology officer in the Office of Science and Technology Policy, succeeding Todd Park. Alexander Macgillivray, a general counsel and head of public policy at Twitter, will serve as Ms. Smith’s deputy.

Kans. senate campaign

WASHINGTON — National Republicans on Thursday moved to take control of the campaign of Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts by sending a longtime party strategist to the state to advise him, a day after his hopes for re-election were threatened by the attempted withdrawal of the Democrat in the race.

Also Thursday, the Kansas secretary of state, Republican Kris Kobach, ruled that the Democratic nominee, Chad Taylor, could not withdraw his name from the ballot. Democratic officials said Mr. Taylor would file a legal challenge to the ruling.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is dispatching Chris LaCivita, who has served as a political troubleshooter in past GOP campaigns, to counsel Mr. Roberts. and help oversee his campaign. The committee will also seek to hire a local lawyer in any legal challenge against Mr. Taylor, who had tried to drop off the ballot on the last day candidates were allowed to do so. Mr. LaCivita is expected to be in Kansas by this weekend.

— Compiled from news services



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