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Confusion over start of same-sex marriages next month in Florida

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Florida court officials, citing confusion after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to extend a stay on the state’s same-sex marriage ban, agreed on Monday to ask a federal judge to clarify where gay couples may begin to tie the knot next month.

When the stay expires after Jan. 5, it is unclear if weddings are permitted beyond the one county in northern Florida that was named in the case appealed to the high court.

On a conference call on Monday, the state’s clerks of court were “close to unanimous” in agreement that same-sex marriages would become legal only in rural Washington County, said Bob Inzer, the clerk in Leon County in Tallahassee.

The ruling “does not apply to the clerks of the state’s other 66 counties,” agreed Ronnie Fussell, the clerk in Duval County in Jacksonville, noting in a statement that clerks could face a fine and jail time for issuing marriage licenses in violation of state law.

Florida’s clerks plan to seek guidance from U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle of Florida’s Northern District, who in August became the first federal judge to strike down the same-sex marriage ban approved by state voters in 2008, Inzer said.

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Gay marriage advocates warned that counties will be hit by costly lawsuits if they refuse to issue licenses when Hinkle’s order takes effect early next year.

“Clerks can stand in the doorway and try to block equality, or they can welcome gay couples who have waited for decades for this moment,” said Nadine Smith, chief executive officer of Equality Florida, an advocacy group.

The high court’s order, issued on Friday, would make Florida the 36th U.S. states to have legal gay marriage.

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Concerns about “uniformity throughout Florida” were cited by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who asked the Supreme Court to extend the stay while various cases make their way through the appeals process in different states and federal circuits.

Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia dissented from the decision of the other justices to deny Bondi’s request.

(Editing by Letitia Stein and Mohammad Zargham)


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Gun ownership increases homicides — but only a very specific kind of them: study

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Does the frequency of gun ownership impact the homicide rate? In the broad sense, many studies have shown it does. But how does it do so exactly?

A new study, conducted at the University of Indianapolis and published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, offers a profound hint. The study, which examined homicide rates by state from 1990 to 2016, suggests that most forms of homicide — those committed against friends, acquaintances, and strangers — are negligibly affected by firearm ownership rates. But one particular category of homicide is sharply correlated with the presence of guns: domestic violence.

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DOJ censors Mueller ahead of highly-anticipated congressional testimony

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Claims 'Presidential Privilege'

President Donald Trump's Dept. of Justice is censoring former Special Counsel Robert Mueller ahead of his highly-anticipated congressional testimony Wednesday.

According to Politico the Trump DOJ is claiming anything outside of what is already published in the special counsel's 448-page report falls under "presidential privilege" and cannot be used during his testimony.

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Conservatives are furious over Trump’s budget deal with Democrats — president brags about ‘real compromise’

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House conservatives are livid after President Donald Trump struck a budget deal with Democrats.

"You should veto this bill because it is fiscally irresponsible," the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Trump. "It blows well beyond what was intended with the 2011 [Budget Control Act] caps. Furthermore, it continues spending hundreds of billions more than what we take in a year and does not put our nation on a path towards a balanced budget."

The effort is being driven by first-term Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX).

"As the greatest nation in the history of the world, the least we can do is cut a deal that does not sabotage the fiscal future of our nation while endangering millions of American and migrants because of our porous border," the lawmakers wrote. "We can do better."

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