By Bernie Woodall DETROIT (Reuters) - Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution and must be overturned, a federal judge ruled on Friday in the latest in a series of court decisions to allow gay couples to wed. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said he was seeking an emergency stay and appeal of the ruling with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which struck down a Michigan constitutional amendment adopted by voters in 2004. The ban "does not advance any conceivable legitimate state interest" and discriminates against same-sex couples in violation of their right to equal protection, Judge Bernard Friedman found in a 31-page ruling. The challenge to Michigan's law was brought by April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, a lesbian couple who live in Hazel Park, a Detroit suburb.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A week before a self-imposed deadline for a review of National Security Agency programs, President Barack Obama sought Friday to assure leading Internet and tech executives that his administration is committed to protecting people's privacy.
HONOLULU (AP) — Honolulu police have urged lawmakers to preserve an exemption in Hawaii law that lets undercover officers have sex with prostitutes during investigations. But they won't say how often — or even if — they use the provision.
POINT PLEASANT BEACH, N.J. (AP) — A fire early Friday destroyed a New Jersey shore motel that was housing people displaced by Superstorm Sandy, killing four people and injuring eight, authorities said.
By David Ingram and Barbara Liston WASHINGTON/ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - Investigators have concluded that an FBI agent should be cleared of any wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of a Chechen immigrant while he was being questioned about his ties to one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, a federal law enforcement official said on Friday. The agent shot and killed 27-year-old Ibragim Todashev in May 2013 after Todashev suddenly attacked and injured the agent during an interrogation at his Orlando apartment, according to the FBI. The law enforcement official spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the release on Tuesday of a review of the incident by a Florida prosecutor. The report prepared by a team of investigators at the office of Orlando State Attorney, Jeffrey Ashton, recommends clearing the FBI agent, the official said.
NEW YORK (AP) — In the beginning of their work together on "Noah," director Darren Aronofsky made Russell Crowe a promise: "I'll never shoot you on a houseboat in a robe and sandals with two giraffes popping up behind you."
By Dave Warner POINT PLEASANT BEACH, New Jersey (Reuters) - An early morning fire tore through a Jersey Shore motel popular with fishermen on Friday, killing four people and critically injuring three others, law enforcement officials said. Beach breezes whipped up the flames that engulfed the two-story Mariner's Cove Motor Inn in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, fire and law enforcement officials told a news conference. Seven people were injured, three of them critically, and four bodies were found in the scorched ruins of the motel, said Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato. About half of the motel's 40 occupants were using it as temporary housing after being displaced from their homes by Hurricane Sandy, said James Giannuzzi, whose beachfront condominium was badly flooded during that storm and had been living on the motel's first floor for about six weeks.
By Richard Weizel HARTFORD, Connecticut (Reuters) - A woman whose face and hands were ripped off by a friend's pet chimpanzee in 2009 came to the Connecticut State Capitol on Friday to ask permission to sue the state for $150 million in damages. Charla Nash, who has undergone a face transplant and many other surgeries, including a failed double-hand transplant, spoke to the Connecticut General Assembly's Judiciary Committee, her head wrapped with protective white gauze. "My name is Charla Nash and I'm hoping you can make a decision based on the fact that the state knew what was happening and failed to protect me," said Nash, 60. She asked lawmakers to pass legislation overruling a June decision by state Claims Commissioner J. Paul Vance Jr. that denied her request to waive Connecticut's sovereign immunity from lawsuits.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx asked the department's inspector general on Friday to review whether the government's auto safety agency had properly investigated reports of ignition problems in recalled General Motors cars that have been linked to 12 deaths. Foxx said he ordered the investigation "out of an abundance of caution." Several safety watchdogs have said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration should have ordered GM to recall the cars as early as 2007. "At the present time, we are not aware of any information to suggest that NHTSA failed to properly carry out its safety mission based on the data available to it and the processes it followed," Foxx said. Last month, GM said it was recalling 1.6 million 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalts, 2003-2007 Saturn Ions and other models due to a faulty ignition switch that could cause the engine to turn off while driving, making the car harder to steer and brake and disabling airbags.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The Connecticut woman disfigured in a 2009 chimpanzee attack asked state lawmakers Friday to grant her the ability to sue the state so she can pay her medical bills and "have a chance to live a comfortable life."
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's attempt to block access to Twitter appeared to backfire on Friday with many tech-savvy users circumventing the ban and suspicions growing that the prime minister was using court orders to suppress corruption allegations against him and his government.