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Judge strikes down gay marriage ban in Colorado, stays ruling pending appeal

Colorado judge strikes gay marriage ban

A judge in Colorado struck down the state’s gay marriage ban Wednesday, ruling that the 2006 voter-approved ban violates the state and federal constitutions. Adams County District Court Judge C. Scott Crabtree immediately put his ruling on hold pending an appeal.

The attorney general of neighboring Utah said Wednesday he would appeal directly to the Supreme Court over a ruling by a federal appeals court last month that backed gay marriage in the conservative, heavily Mormon state.

In a separate case, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito on Wednesday denied a request from a Pennsylvania county clerk who was seeking a stay of a district court decision that allowed gay marriage to go into effect. In that case, the state declined to appeal the lower court’s decision.

Also Wednesday, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) announced that the state won’t recognize same-sex marriages that were performed before a federal court halted a lower court’s decision to lift the state’s gay marriage ban. Hundreds of couples were married from June 25, when a U.S. district court judge struck down the state’s gay marriage ban, to June 27, when a federal appeals court stayed the decision.

— From news services

Aurora theater shooting trial delayed

The trial in the Colorado theater shootings was delayed again Wednesday because the second sanity evaluation of defendant James Holmes will take more time than expected.

The trial had been scheduled to start with jury selection on Oct. 14. Arapahoe County District Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. did not set a new date. A report on the evaluation had been due Aug. 15, but the state mental hospital said it would need until Oct. 15, one day after jury selection was to begin.

Samour said he had little choice but to grant the extension. He said he would set a new trial date at a hearing on July 22.

Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of killing 12 people and injuring 70 in the July 20, 2012, attack in the Denver suburb of Aurora.

— Associated Press

Counterterrorism chief to depart

The U.S. government’s top counterterrorism official will leave his post later this year, President Obama announced Wednesday.

Matthew Olsen, a former U.S. prosecutor, Justice Department official and chief lawyer for the National Security Agency, has headed the National Counterterrorism Center for the last three years. The administration did not say who might replace him.

The center was set up after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to improve intelligence sharing between sometimes fractious agencies such as the CIA and the FBI. It is part of the office of the Director of National Intelligence, also created after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Officials said that Olsen had been planning for some time to depart by the end of 2014, and his departure is not connected to any recent events.

— Reuters

Berkeley offers free medical pot to poor: Berkeley, Calif., known for its liberal activism, has voted to make medicinal marijuana dispensaries give a small amount of their pot to the poor. City council members voted late Tuesday to instruct local outlets to provide marijuana equal to 2 percent of their sales free to low-income patients. Under the law, which takes effect next month, the marijuana must be the same quality as that bought by customers.

— From news services

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This was supposed to be the strongest Republican presidential field in memory, but cracks are showing. At Saturday night's debate, Marco Rubio withered in the face of unyielding attacks from Chris Christie, drawing attention to the biggest question about his candidacy: Is he ready to be president? How much the debate will affect Rubio's standing Tuesday is anybody's guess. But even if he does well, the question about his readiness to serve as president and to go up against Clinton, if she is the Democratic nominee, will linger.
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