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Federal judge strikes down Montana’s ban on same-sex marriages

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A federal judge struck down a Montana ban on gay marriage on Wednesday, saying that it violates the U.S. Constitution, the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana said.

U.S. District Judge Brian Morris overturned an amendment to the state’s constitution prohibiting same-sex marriages in response to a lawsuit brought by the ACLU of Montana by four gay and lesbian couples.

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“This case is about equality and basic fairness,” Jim Taylor, legal director for the ACLU of Montana, said in a statement. “All Montanans have an equal right to the legal protections and respect that marriage brings. This ruling takes that constitutional principle of equal protection and makes it a reality in Montana.”

If Morris’s ruling is upheld, Montana would become the 35th state to permit gay marriage. Montana Attorney General Tim Fox, who defended the state’s gay marriage ban, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday afternoon.

Governor Steve Bullock, a Democrat, said in May when the lawsuit challenging the ban was filed that he welcomed the action.

“Montanans cherish our freedom and recognize the individual dignity of every one of us. The time has come for our state to recognize and celebrate – not discriminate against – two people who love one another, are committed to each other, and want to spend their lives together,” he said at the time.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles and Laura Zuckerman in Salmon, Idaho; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Walsh)

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California lawmaker who chaired Republican Assembly caucus leaving GOP — to become an independent: report

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On Thursday, the Sacramento Bee reported that California Assemblyman Chad Mayes, the former Assembly Minority Leader, is leaving the Republican Party and registering as No Party Preference.

"Instead of focusing on solutions for the big problems that we've got, we focused on winning elections," said Mayes in his announcement. "For me, I'm at the point in my life where I'm done with gamesmanship."

Mayes, a controversial figure who was implicated in an affair with a fellow public official, represents Yucca Valley. He is the second Republican Assemblyman this year to leave the party, after Brian Maienschein of San Diego, who Maienschein of San Diego.

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‘Quantum physics generator’ incident in Ohio results in evacuation — hazmat found no radiation

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Authorities in Columbus, Ohio evacuated dozens of homes after a man called 911 to report being burned by a

"Firefighters say nothing threatening was found in a northwest Columbus garage," WCMH-TV reported. "According to firefighters, a man called and reported that he received ‘RF burns’ while building some sort of ‘quantum physics generator’ in a garage. The man used words like ‘particle accelerator,’ ‘alpha rays,’ and ‘radiation’ while describing how he was burned."

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Trump spoke with Giuliani on unsecured phones that were vulnerable to Russian surveillance: report

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On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump has communicated with his lawyer Rudy Giuliani via unsecured and unencrypted phone lines that are potentially vulnerable to interception and monitoring by Russian intelligence officials and other hostile foreign powers.

"Trump is not identified by name in the House phone records, but investigators said they suspect he may be a person with a blocked number listed as '-1' in the files," stated the report. "And administration officials said separately that Trump has communicated regularly with Giuliani on unsecured lines."

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