In brief: Request to enforce Prop 8 denied
SAN FRANCISCO – The California Supreme Court refused Monday to order the state to immediately stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
However, the court still plans to consider whether the governor and attorney general correctly instructed county clerks that a voter-approved ban on gay marriages had become legally invalid statewide.
Without comment, the court denied a request made Friday by backers of the ban for an emergency order that would have required the state to keep enforcing Proposition 8 while they pursue a last-ditch legal effort to preserve it.
“Although we would have preferred for the California Supreme Court to issue a stay so that the state’s marriage amendment would be respected sooner rather than later … we remain hopeful that the court will recognize that Proposition 8 remains the law of the land in California and that county clerks must continue to enforce it,” said Austin Nimocks, a lawyer for the coalition of religious conservative groups that qualified Proposition 8 for the November 2008 ballot.
Judge rules against N.D. abortion law
BISMARCK, N.D. – A 2011 North Dakota law that outlaws one of two drugs used in nonsurgical abortions violates the state and U.S. constitutions, a state judge ruled Monday.
After a three-day trial in April, East Central Judge Wickham Corwin said he’d rule in favor of the state’s sole abortion clinic, calling the 2011 state law “simply wrongheaded.” Corwin officially ruled on the case Monday.
“No compelling state interest justifies this infringement …” Corwin wrote in his ruling. He already had granted an injunction preventing the law from taking effect.
Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said Monday he will appeal to the North Dakota Supreme Court.
Twin panda cubs
born at Zoo Atlanta
ATLANTA – A giant panda named Lun Lun gave birth Monday at Zoo Atlanta to two tiny cubs, the first twin pandas born in the United States since 1987, zoo spokeswoman Keisha Hines announced.
The 15-year-old panda went into labor Monday afternoon and gave birth to the first cub at 6:21 p.m. and the second two minutes later. Hines said zookeepers who had been anticipating only one cub based on a recent ultrasound were surprised by the first-ever twin panda births at Zoo Atlanta.
The twin cubs are the first giant pandas to be born in the United States in 2013, Hines added.
Zoo officials are working with animal care workers from the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.
Neptune’s 14th moon discovered
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Chalk up one more moon for Neptune.
NASA announced the discovery of Neptune’s 14th moon Monday. The Hubble Space Telescope captured the moon as a white dot in photos of Neptune on the outskirts of our solar system.
The new moon – Neptune’s tiniest at just 12 miles across – is designated S/2004 N 1.
The SETI Institute’s Mark Showalter made the discovery. He was studying the segments of rings around Neptune when the white dot popped out, 65,400 miles from Neptune.