TIME Gay Marriage

Federal Judge Orders Ohio To Recognize Out-of-State Gay Marriages

Ohio gay marriage ban overturned
Attorney Al Gerhardstein, left, stands with several same-sex couples at a news conference, Friday, April 4, 2014, in Cincinnati. Al Behrman—AP

A federal judge says he will order Ohio's prohibition on recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states unconstitutional by April 14. The state passed an amendment banning gay marriage in 2004

A federal judge in Cincinnati says he will soon issue a ruling ordering Ohio to recognize out-of-state marriages.

“I intend to issue a written decision and order by April 14 striking down as unconstitutional under all circumstances Ohio’s ban on recognizing legal same-sex marriages from other states,” says Honorary Timothy S. Black, according to a spokesperson. The announcement comes after civil rights attorneys delivered closing arguments in the matter Friday.

A local NBC affiliate reports that the plaintiffs, three lesbian couples, originally sued to place the names of both parents on the birth certificates of their newborns, but later expanded their request. Attorneys for the state argue that Ohio has the right to ban gay marriage, as voters passed a constitutional amendment in 2004 recognizing marriage as the union between one man and one woman.

 

TIME Crime

Fort Hood Victim Sacrificed His Life to Save Others, Says Fiancee

Three Soldiers Killed And 16 Wounded By Shooter At Fort Hood
From left: Bob Gordon and Bob Butler paint crosses they placed in front of 16 American flags as they build a memorial in front of Central Christian Disciples of Christ church for the victims of yesterdays shooting at Fort Hood on April 3, 2014 in Killeen, Texas. Joe Raedle—Getty Images

Kristen Haley said that her fiancé Danny Ferguson, a Sgt. First Class who had recently returned from Afghanistan, held a door shut with his body to protect people from the gunman. Ferguson was one of the three killed in the shooting

Danny Ferguson, a Sgt. First Class recently returned from Afghanistan, sacrificed his life Wednesday to keep the shooter out of a crowded room of military personnel, according to his fiancée and fellow soldier Kristen Haley.

Haley, who was reportedly near the shooting when it happened, said that when Army Specialist Ivan Lopez opened fire, Ferguson held a door shut with his body to bar the shooter’s way.

“He held that door shut because it wouldn’t lock. It seems the doors would be bullet proof, but apparently they’re not,” Haley explained to a Tampa Bay CBS affiliate. “If he wasn’t the one standing there holding those doors closed, that shooter would have been able to get through and shoot everyone else.”

Lopez killed three soldiers—Sgt. Timothy Owens, Sgt. Carlos Alberto Lazaney Rodriguez, and Ferguson—and wounded sixteen others before turning the gun on himself. Officials said that Lopez, 34, had no record of bad behavior but had been suffering from depression following a four-month tour in Iraq three years ago.

“I know that he did have a pleasure of serving. This was his life,” said Haley, who was reportedly nearby the shooting when it happened. “He was proud to be part of a great service.”

TIME Food & Drink

Paula Deen’s ‘Uncle Bubba’ Restaurant Shuts Its Doors

Paula Deen attends An Evening With Paula Deen at MotorCity Casino Hotel on April 25, 2013 in Detroit.
Paula Deen attends An Evening With Paula Deen at MotorCity Casino Hotel on April 25, 2013 in Detroit. Monica Morgan—WireImage/Getty Images

A year after an employee filed a suit against the restaurant alleging racial and sexual discrimination, Uncle Bubba's is shutting its doors

Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House, a Georgia restaurant co-owned by Paula Deen and her brother Earl W. “Bubba” Hiers Jr., closed Thursday, according to its website.

The restaurant was at the center of a storm of controversy last year when an employee filed a lawsuit against Deen and her brother alleging racial and sexual discrimination. During a deposition, Deen admitted to having used a racial slur in the past, setting off a firestorm of bad publicity for the celebrity chef.

Though the suit was dismissed, the Food Network did not renew Deen’s contract, and she lost millions in endorsements from retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target. Hiers also drew negative attention to the restaurant when he admitted during his deposition that he had a history of abusing cocaine and alcohol and watched pornography at work. He also admitted taking money from the restaurant in 2010.

Though Uncle Bubba’s website now reads, “Thank you for 10 great years. Uncle Bubba’s is now closed,” it seems many employees were not forewarned, according to Savannah Now. “I’ve worked there since I was 16. I woke up this a.m. to no job and no forewarning,” one employee posted on Uncle Bubba’s Facebook page (which has since been deleted).

Hiers decided to close the restaurant “in order to explore development options for the waterfront property on which the restaurant is located,” he announced in a statement.

Deen signed a deal with private investment firm Najafi Companies in February in hopes of staging a comeback. She announced that the firm would invest $75 million to $100 million to rebrand her image under a new umbrella company, Paula Deen Ventures, which will oversee her restaurants, cookbooks and product endorsements, the Associated Press reports. She has also announced plans for a new restaurant in Tennessee.

TIME Pictures of the Week

Pictures of the Week: March 28 — April 4

From the shootings at Fort Hood to the Afghan elections, to Queen Elizabeth’s visit with Pope Francis and a camera savvy koala bear, TIME presents the best photos of the week.

 

TIME insider trading

Justice Department To Probe High-Frequency Trading

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder testifies before a House Appropriations Committee Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on the Justice Department's fiscal year 2015 budget request on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on April 4, 2014.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder testifies before a House Appropriations Committee Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on the Justice Department's fiscal year 2015 budget request on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on April 4, 2014. Nicholas Kamm—AFP/Getty Images

Attorney General Eric Holder says the Justice Department will investigate whether the lightning fast transactions violate insider trading laws. The FBI said earlier this week that it is also probing high-frequency trading

Attorney General Eric Holder said Friday that the Justice Department is investigating high-frequency trading to determine if it violates insider trading laws.

“The Department is committed to ensuring the integrity of our financial markets—and we are determined to follow this investigation wherever the facts and the law may lead,” Holder said in prepared remarks Friday for a hearing of the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the Justice Department.

High-frequency trading is when financial institutions, traders or brokers use sophisticated computer algorithms and high speed data networks to make lightning fast trades. For the Justice Department to find it illegal, it would have to establish that the traders are buying or selling a security while in possession of nonpublic information about the product.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said earlier this week that it too is probing high-frequency trading. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission are also looking into the practice.

The debate has gained increased public momentum—and some angry finger-pointing—due to Michael Lewis’ new book Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, which alleges that the stock market is rigged against the average investor in favor of high-speed traders at hedge funds and investment banks. In the past week, the New York Times published an excerpt of the book and CBS’ 60 Minutes featured Lewis on its program.

TIME

Watch: the Winners and Losers from the McCutcheon Decision

The case Shaun McCutcheon - a chief executive and political financier - brought against the Federal Election Commission has ushered in a new era of political spending

In Tuesday’s landmark Supreme Court decision on the McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission case, the justices lifted the limits on aggregate political contributions.

The campaign finance ruling, which saw the Supreme Court sharply divided with a 5-4 vote, will likely transform the business of politics yet again, pushing even more money into elections. McCutcheon’s case has impressive implications, as TIME’s Sam Frizell explains. A single donor can now theoretically spend up to $3.5 million supporting candidates for the House and Senate, a figure that doesn’t include contributions to political action committees.

Watch TIME’s explanation of who benefits — and who doesn’t — from the ruling.

 

 

TIME Mississippi

Mississippi Governor Signs Controversial Religious Freedom Bill

Supporters say the bill will guarantee freedom of religion without government interference, but opponents believe the law will allow discrimination against gays and lesbians

Mississippi’s Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill Thursday that would allow residents to sue over laws they believe impinge on their free exercise of religious beliefs.

Supporters say the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which will become law July 1, will guarantee freedom of religion without government interference, but opponents believe the law will permit discrimination against gays and lesbians. A similar bill that would have allowed Arizona residents to deny service to gays and lesbians on religious grounds was vetoed by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer last month.

“This is a victory for the First Amendment and the right to live and work according to one’s conscience,” said Tony Perkins, the president of the conservative Family Research Council and an attendant at the signing ceremony, in a public statement. “This commonsense measure was a no-brainer for freedom, and like the federal [Religious Freedom Restoration Act], it simply bars government discrimination against religious exercise. The legislature gave strong approval to a bill that declares that individuals do not have to trade their religious freedom for entrance into public commerce.”

Similar bills are pending in Missouri and Oklahoma, according to the Washington Post, and eighteen other states have already enacted religious freedom laws. Civil rights advocates have opposed the bills, including in Mississippi, despite the state government removing some of the strongest original language.

“We remain hopeful that courts throughout the state will reject any attempts to use religion to justify discrimination,” Morgan Miller, communications director of Mississippi’s ACLU chapter, said in a public statement. “Nobody should be refused service because of who they are.”

The bill will also add “In God We Trust” to the state seal.

TIME animals

No, A Super Volcano Is Not About To Erupt In Yellowstone

Viral videos showing bison apparently fleeing Yellowstone National Park are not a sign that a super-volcano will be erupting soon, park officials said. "It's a natural occurrence and not the end of the world,” said a park spokesperson

Yellowstone National Park dismissed claims Friday that a super-volcano located underneath the park would erupt soon. A YouTube video showing bison running away from the park sparked rumors that the animals were attempting to avoid an eruption.

The rumors began swirling following a 4.8 magnitude earthquake, which occurred on Sunday in the northwest section of Yellowstone, Reuters reports. The quake was the largest to strike the park since 1980, which led people to believe the volcano, which has a 50 foot long and 30 mile wide mouth, could be erupting sooner than the thousands of years it had been predicted to lie dormant.

But scientists have said the possibility of the volcano erupting is slim. “The chance of that happening in our lifetimes is exceedingly insignificant,” Peter Cervelli, a scientist with the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, told Reuters.

As for the galloping bison, Yellowstone spokesperson Amy Bartlett said they were simply running deeper into the park. “It was a spring-like day and they were frisky. Contrary to online reports, it’s a natural occurrence and not the end of the world,” Bartlett said.

[Reuters]

TIME Sports

Feds Probe Florida State’s Handling of Jameis Winston Rape Claims

Jameis Winston of the Florida State Seminoles in action during the BCS National Championship. Florida State defeated Auburn 34-31 in the game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., Jan. 6 2014.
Jameis Winston of the Florida State Seminoles in action during the BCS National Championship. Florida State defeated Auburn 34-31 in the game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., Jan. 6 2014. John Pyle—Cal Sport Media/Sipa USA

The U.S. Department of Education's Civil Rights Office has begun to investigate whether the university violated Title IX laws while looking into allegations of sexual assault against Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston

The U.S. Department of Education is investigating Florida State University’s handling of an alleged sexual assault last year involving Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston.

The investigation will determine whether or not the university violated Title IX laws while looking into allegations of rape against Winston. The alleged rape—which the football player has always denied—is said to have occurred in December 2012.

The university announced Winston would not face criminal charges for the alleged rape in December. But the victim filed a Title IX complaint in March with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, USA Today reports. The university is accused of meeting with Winston in January to discuss the assault, without the accuser present.

Because the investigation and meeting were reportedly conducted so far after the incident, the Office of Civil Rights is looking to see whether or not the school is in violation of the federal law that protects students against sex discrimination, including acts of sexual violence and harassment. Under that law, schools are required to conduct timely and neutral investigations into all complaints of harassment and violence and discipline accordingly. A university is at risk of losing federal funding if it does not comply.

FSU told USA Today it could not comment on the ongoing investigation, but said the school has rules in place to protect students. “The Code of Conduct imposes no time limits on when an aggrieved student may file a complaint or when new information can be considered,” the statement read. “The university evaluates all information it receives and acts on it when appropriate. We take seriously the trust and privacy of the entire university community.”

[USA Today]

TIME Washington

County Considered Buying Out Homes Destroyed by Mudslide

A piece of heavy equipment moves past an American flag as search work continues in the mud and debris from a massive mudslide that struck Oso near Darrington, Washington
The search for the missing people after the deadly mudslide continues in Oso © Jason Redmond—Reuters

Snohomish County once considered buying out the properties in the Washington state neighborhood that was devastated by a massive mudslide last month that killed at least 30 people and led to a nearly two-week search for more than a dozen others

In 2004, Snohomish County was so worried about the mudslide threat near the slope that collapsed last month that the county considered purchasing the properties to protect its citizens’ safety, The Seattle Times reports.

According to documents reviewed by the paper, the costs of buying out the neighborhood “would be significant, but would remove the risk to human life and structures.”

The county instead opted for trying to stabilize the base of the slope and, after a mudslide in 2006, a wall was built to prevent a river from cutting into the base side of the hill, in an attempt to minimize the mudslide threat.

Since the horrific mudslide near the small town of Oso in Snohomish County last month, questions have been raised about the county’s awareness of the threat. Thirty people were killed by the mudslide, and 15 are still missing.

[The Seattle Times]

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