By Jim Forsyth SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Reuters) - The Texas state ban on same-sex marriage was ruled unconstitutional on Wednesday by a U.S. federal judge, who declared a stay on the decision, meaning that the ban stays in effect. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia said the law excludes the two couples who brought the suit from the constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process. "These Texas laws deny Plaintiffs access to the institution of marriage and its numerous rights, privileges, and responsibilities for the sole reason that Plaintiffs wish to be married to a person of the same sex," Garcia wrote. The matter has been deferred to Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the judge said.
By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that lawyers, insurance brokers and others who worked with convicted swindler Allen Stanford cannot avoid lawsuits by investors seeking to recoup losses incurred in his $7 billion Ponzi scheme. New York-based law firms Chadbourne & Parke and Proskauer Rose and insurance brokerage Willis Group Holdings Plc were all sued by former Stanford investors. Writing for the majority, Justice Stephen Breyer said the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act did not prevent the state lawsuits from proceeding. The law says that state lawsuits are barred when the alleged misrepresentations are "in connection with" the purchase or sale of a covered security.
A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday ordered Google Inc to remove from its YouTube video-sharing website an anti-Islamic film that had sparked protests across the Muslim world. By a 2-1 vote, a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Google's assertion that the removal of the film "Innocence of Muslims" amounted to a prior restraint of speech that violated the U.S. Constitution. The plaintiff, Cindy Lee Garcia, had objected to the film after learning that it incorporated a clip she had made for a different movie, which had been partially dubbed and in which she appeared to be asking: "Is your Mohammed a child molester?" In a statement, Google said: "We strongly disagree with this ruling and will fight it." Cris Armenta, a lawyer for Garcia, said she is delighted with the decision. "Ordering YouTube and Google to take down the film was the right thing to do," Armenta said in an email.
FORT STEWART, Ga. (AP) — Standing just over 5 feet, Army Spc. Karen Arvizu is barely a foot taller than the anti-tank missile she carries in both arms and loads into an armored vehicle. She stands on her tip-toes to wrestle open the 300-pound top hatch.
PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer was holding a series of private meetings Wednesday with opponents and proponents of legislation adding protections for people who assert their religious beliefs in refusing service to gays, a proposal that has focused national attention on the state as business groups, gay rights supporters and even many fellow Republicans urged her to use her veto power.