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NATIONAL
February 28, 2014 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske
HOUSTON - Mark Phariss almost didn't file the lawsuit that led a judge to overturn the Texas ban on same-sex marriage this week . One reason: Phariss, a Dallas corporate lawyer seeking to marry his partner of several years, has long been friends with one of the conservative state officials he sued: Texas Atty. Gen. Greg Abbott. The two men grew up about 50 miles apart in conservative country - Phariss in Lawton, Okla., Abbott to the south in Wichita Falls, Texas. Later, they became friends during law school and stayed in touch over the years with an occasional meeting or Christmas card.
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OPINION
February 27, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
The six state attorneys general who have declined to defend their states' bans on same-sex marriage in court got some encouragement this week from U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. In a speech to the National Assn. of Attorneys General, Holder said that it was sometimes appropriate for attorneys general to abandon their usual obligation to defend the constitutionality of state laws. This page supports same-sex marriage unreservedly. But even so, we worry that Holder's comments will embolden additional state attorneys general - Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives - to pick and choose which of their states' laws they will defend in court.
NATIONAL
February 26, 2014 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske
HOUSTON - A federal judge in deeply conservative Texas overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage Wednesday, saying the prohibition is unconstitutional and stigmatizes gay couples, a ruling that gay rights advocates say adds significant momentum to their push for the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the issue. Texas is the largest state and one of several conservative states, including Oklahoma and Virginia, where judges have recently struck down bans on same-sex marriage. In Texas and elsewhere, judges have stayed their rulings pending appeals, meaning that same-sex couples will not be legally exchanging vows any time soon.
NATIONAL
February 26, 2014 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske
HOUSTON -- A federal judge in San Antonio overturned the Texas ban on same-sex marriage, ruling that the prohibition is unconstitutional and stigmatizes the relationship of gay couples in the conservative state. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia does not allow same-sex couples to immediately marry because he stayed the injunction pending any appeal. Garcia ruled that the state's ban deprives same-sex couples of due process and equal protection, stigmatizing their relationships and treating them differently from opposite-sex couples.
NATIONAL
February 26, 2014 | By Michael Muskal
As officials in Arizona and the rest of the nation continue to wrestle with the legal and legislative issues connected to same-sex marriage, a new poll shows that support for allowing gays to marry has rapidly increased since such unions first became legal more than a decade ago, with inroads made even among the religious, once a bastion of opposition. About 53% of the random sample of 4,509 Americans surveyed by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute said they supported same sex marriage, up from 32% in 2003, when Massachusetts became the first state to legalize it. The poll, released on Wednesday, was carried out between Nov. 12 and Dec. 18, 2013, by telephone and has a margin of error of 1.7 percentage points, the group said.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 25, 2014 | By Nardine Saad
Tommy Lee is getting married again: The rocker has popped the question to girlfriend Sofia Toufa. The founding M o tley Cr u e drummer and Toufa, a Greek-German singer, announced their engagement Monday on Twitter.  "There comes a time in a mans life when you just know your partner is for LIFE!!" the 51-year-old  wrote . "Say hello to my fiancé and soon to be wife @SOFIofficial" PHOTOS: Celebrity weddings & engagements of 2014 Toufa, 30, who goes by the stage name SOFI, cutely dubbed herself  "something that rhymes with Beyonce!
NATIONAL
February 25, 2014 | By Michael Muskal
Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage treats gays as second-class citizens and should be overturned, an attorney representing a lesbian couple argued Tuesday at the start of the latest legal challenge to such laws. The case is being closely watched for more than its central argument that a state can ban same-sex marriage if its voters chose to pass such a constitutional amendment. The case also will focus on some claims that having parents of the same sex is bad for the children. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 24, 2014 | By Christie D'Zurilla
Singer Robin Thicke and his actress-model wife, Paula Patton, who first met when he was only 14, have split after more than eight years of marriage, it was reported Monday. "We will always love each other and be best friends," the couple said in a statement to People that confirmed their mutual decision to separate.  Thicke and Patton - he's 36, she's 38 - married in June 2005 and welcomed son Julian Fuego in April 2010. Last September, talking to Star magazine (via Radar Online )
NATIONAL
February 20, 2014 | By Matt Pearce
Oregon's attorney general will not defend the state's same-sex marriage ban in court, lending momentum to activists seeking to end the last such remaining ban on the West Coast. The announcement by Atty. Gen. Ellen F. Rosenblum on Thursday does not, however, make same-sex marriage legal in Oregon, and the matter will probably be defended in court by another group. But she is now part of a small but growing group of attorneys general who have decided to stop defending the law in the face of a recent judicial onslaught that has put the future of the nation's remaining same-sex marriage bans in serious doubt.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 17, 2014 | By Christie D'Zurilla, This post has been corrected, as detailed below.
Hope springs eternal for Charlie Sheen: The "Anger Management" star is engaged, aiming to get married for the fourth time. His lady of choice is Brett Rossi, a former porn actress, according to TMZ , which first had the news about the engagement. The proposal, which reportedly found Sheen down on one knee, happened in Hawaii, where the actor had flown Rossi in a private jet. "I was not expecting it at all. We had a beautiful Valentine's Day and he proposed to me early this morning after we watched the sun rise," Rossi, whose nickname is Scotti, told E!
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