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NATIONAL
February 16, 2014 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - The legal campaign for marriage equality is picking up speed, moving at a pace that has surprised even longtime advocates and increasing the likelihood of a definitive Supreme Court test as early as next year. Efforts by some lawyers to plan a careful strategy for which cases to push forward to the high court have largely been put aside amid a rush of lower-court rulings striking down bans on same-sex marriage. The most recent came Thursday in Virginia, the first such ruling in the South.
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NATIONAL
February 14, 2014 | By Michael Muskal
When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down parts of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, it left unresolved whether couples of the same sex had a constitutional right to marry. Other courts, especially in Virginia and Utah, are filling that vacuum, setting the stage for the top court to go a second round on the issue. Virginia is the latest state in the fray after a federal judge struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional Thursday, arguing that the country has “arrived upon another moment in history when 'We the People' becomes more inclusive, and our freedom more perfect.” In a 41-page ruling released late Thursday, District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen used language similar to that in legal decisions in a series of other states.
HOME & GARDEN
February 14, 2014 | By Jim Cox
I have to make sure when I get hold of happiness to seize the moment and soar to heights with it. I am grateful that I can still be joyful at times with simple and new things that were not significant to me before. - Bien Cox, journal entry The "new normal" arrived April 9, 2008. The painful lump in Bien's left breast was malignant. Cancer. The phone, the unholy messenger, was put back in its cradle, and we sat on the couch for a few moments. Tears came and went. Disbelief remained.
NATIONAL
February 13, 2014 | By Connie Stewart
A federal judge in Virginia invalidated the state's ban on same-sex marriage late Thursday but stayed her ruling pending appeal. It was the latest victory for advocates of gay marriage: A day earlier, a federal judge struck down part of Kentucky's same-sex marriage ban , joining a string of similar rulings in conservative states that have put the future of the country's remaining bans in doubt. U.S. District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen in Norfolk ruled that same-sex marriage was a matter of fundamental fairness.
NATIONAL
February 12, 2014 | Matt Pearce
Same-sex marriage may soon be coming to the South. A federal judge struck down part of Kentucky's same-sex marriage ban on Wednesday, joining a string of similar rulings in conservative states that have put the future of the country's remaining bans in doubt. District Judge John G. Heyburn ordered that Kentucky recognize same-sex marriages that had been legally performed in other states and opened the door wide for activists to strike down Kentucky's ban entirely. No federal judge has ruled in favor of such bans since a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision on the issue last summer.
NATIONAL
February 10, 2014 | By Matt Pearce
It was a busy day Monday for arguments over same-sex marriage's legality at the state level across the country. Perhaps the biggest news came out of Nevada, where the attorney general and governor announced that the state  would no longer defend its 2002 ban on same-sex marriage in federal court. The law had been challenged by an LGBT legal advocacy group, Lambda Legal, which appealed after a federal judge upheld the law in 2012. "The state's argument cannot withstand legal scrutiny," Catherine Cortez Masto, Nevada's attorney general, said in a motion filed with the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, asking to withdraw Nevada's legal argument against same-sex marriage.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 9, 2014 | By Emily Alpert Reyes
Hundreds of millions of dollars in government spending to promote healthy marriages seems to have had little effect on marriage and divorce trends, a new study has found. The federal government will have spent roughly $800 million on its Healthy Marriage Initiative by the end of the federal fiscal year, according to the federal Administration for Children and Families. The money, drawn from the welfare budget, has funded a range of programs to help couples have better relationships. But the initiative does not seem to have changed state marriage or divorce rates.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 9, 2014 | By Samantha Schaefer
More than 100 couples will celebrate World Marriage Day by renewing their vows Sunday at Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles. Couples married for 25, 50 or 75 years will renew their wedding vows at Mass with Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Solis. Mass will be held in English at 10 a.m. and in Spanish at 12:30 p.m., according to church officials. In its 39 th year, World Marriage Day celebrates the beauty, sacrifice and joy in daily married life. In 1993, it received the apostolic blessing of Pope John Paul II.   ALSO: 'Dumb Starbucks' coffee shop opens in Los Feliz Tustin man electrocuted in tree while taking photos of sunset Suspected drunk driver held in alleged wrong-way crash that killed 6 Twitter: @Sam_Schaefer Samantha.Schaefer@latimes.com
ENTERTAINMENT
February 8, 2014 | By Mikael Wood
Toni Braxton and Kenny Edmonds have history together as soul-music hit makers, which in the record industry is usually reason enough to rejoin forces. In the 1990s he wrote and produced large chunks of her first two albums, both blockbusters with combined sales of more than 16 million copies; the discs spawned five top 10 singles, including "You're Makin' Me High" and "Breathe Again," and earned three Grammy Awards for female R&B vocal performance. So although their careers later diverged - Braxton took up with other collaborators and began acting, while Edmonds (known as Babyface)
SPORTS
February 8, 2014 | By Dan Loumena
Kate Upton, the model best known for gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue, received a marriage proposal Friday night, but it wasn't from boyfriend Justin Verlander, the hard-throwing pitcher from the Detroit Tigers. While watching the Oklahoma City Thunder play the Orlando Magic at Amway Arena, Stuff the mascot for the Magic spotted Upton sitting alone and swooped in. The rest of the story can be followed on Twitter.   Thanks @STUFF_mascot for the proposal tonight!
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