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Gay marriage ban struck down in Alaska

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JUNEAU Alaska (Reuters) – A U.S. federal judge on Sunday ruled that the state of Alaska’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

Judge Timothy Burgess of the U.S. District Court for Alaska made the ruling after hearing oral arguments on Friday challenging the state’s 16-year-old ban, saying it added to discrimination already faced by gay and lesbian people every day.

“Alaska’s denial of the benefits and dignity of marriage for them only perpetuates this discrimination without legitimate grounds,” Burgess wrote.

He also barred Alaska from refusing to acknowledge lawful same-sex marriages conducted in other states.

Alaska Governor Sean Parnell said Sunday that the state would appeal the ruling, saying the constitutionality question was in flux.

“As Alaska’s governor, I have a duty to defend and uphold the law and the Alaska Constitution,” Parnell, a Republican, said.

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Five couples, four of whom already had legally married in other states and a fifth wishing to marry in Alaska, filed their suit against the state in May challenging the ban.

In 1998, Alaska voters enacted a constitutional amendment that excludes same-sex couples from marriage.

The state contended that the voters should have the final word, not the courts.

Burgess disagreed, writing that the state’s right to define marriage “is not unbounded.”

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“A state may not exercise its power to define marriage in a way that infringes upon individuals’ constitutional rights,” he wrote.

Sunday’s ruling caps off a busy seven days in federal court rulings on same-sex marriage.

On Tuesday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down same-sex marriage bans in Nevada and Idaho.

A day earlier the U.S. Supreme Court let another appeals court ruling stand to allow similar marriages.

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On Sunday, Burgess’ 25-page ruling cited the need to bring an end to longstanding discrimination.

Joshua Decker, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska, hailed the decision.

“Alaska had the misfortune of being the first state, in 1998, to ban equal marriage and bake discrimination into our constitution,” he said. “This victory brings equal rights to thousands of Alaskan couples who are in loving, committed relationships.”

(Reporting by Steve Quinn; Editing by Frank McGurty, Sharon Bernstein and Eric Walsh)

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Longtime Ohio news anchor retires after dispute with Sinclair Broadcasting over forced pro-Trump commentaries

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Rob Braun, a fixture on local Cincinnati television for over 35 years, is retiring after stating it was "time to move on" because "I don't fit well with the Sinclair News model," reports WVXU.

The reports states that Braun -- the dean of Cincinnati's WKRC news broadcasting -- made the comments on his Facebook page and assured loyal fans that he was not fired by the conservative news organization.

In a Facebook post, he wrote: "I want you to know that I am not retiring. Ch 12 is NOT forcing me out. In fact, they offered me a generous contract. I am choosing to leave. There is no 'real story but .... Sometimes in life, you just know, it's time to move on. I don't feel I fit well with the Sinclair News model."

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Alex Jones attacks Sandy Hook families’ lawyer as a ‘little white Jewboy’ in latest unhinged outburst

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Alex Jones is dealing with ongoing legal battles with families of victims and survivors of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Jones is being accused of sending child pornography to the families and leading an ongoing attack on the families using his InfoWars network. However, his legal defense seems to hinge on attacking the plaintiffs' attorney, AboveTheLaw reported Thursday.

It was the child pornography that prompted Jones to lose his mind over attorney Chris Mattei. During the discovery phase of the trial, Mattei found the images and contacted the FBI, which he is required to do by law. But it sent Jones into an outright ragegasm in a video that was shown in court.

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Trump ridiculed for babbling Oval Office talk about ‘manned drones’: We call those ‘planes’

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During a press availability in the Oval Office with Canadian Prime Minister, Donald Trump was naturally asked about Iran reportedly shooting down a U.S. drone in international airspace, which led to the president rambling in the way he does about what a drone is and does.

His explanation was not what one might call knowledgeable or smooth.

“I think probably Iran made a mistake,” the president replied when asked about the international incident. “I would imagine it was a general or somebody that made a mistake in shooting that drone down. Fortunately, that drone was unarmed. There was no man in it and there was no — it was just — it was over international waters, clearly over international waters, but we didn’t have a man or woman in the drone. We had nobody in the drone. It would have made a big difference, let me tell you. It would have made a big, big difference."

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