In brief: N.J. court clears way for same-sex marriages
Trenton, N.J. – In what is being seen as a major victory for marriage equality, New Jersey’s highest court resoundingly refused to stand in the way of same-sex marriages commencing in the state on Monday.
The state Supreme Court unanimously denied the Christie administration’s request to not allow same-sex marriages starting Monday pending its appeal of a lower court decision clearing the way for the nuptials. The high court stated in its decision Friday “that the public interest does not favor a stay.”
In a statement, Gov. Chris Christie’s spokesman said: “The Supreme Court has made its determination. While the governor firmly believes that this determination should be made by all the people of the state of New Jersey, he has instructed the Department of Health to cooperate with all municipalities in effectuating the order of the Superior Court under the applicable law.”
On Sept. 27, state Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson found that the state’s civil union law violates same-sex couples’ civil rights by denying them federal benefits and protections.
No charges to be filed in girl’s death at crash site
San Francisco – Criminal charges will not be filed against the firefighter whose emergency vehicle struck and killed a 16-year-old girl who had been aboard an Asiana Airlines jetliner that crashed at San Francisco International Airport, officials announced Friday.
San Mateo County District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe said that after reviewing “numerous videos” and reports from coroner’s officials, police officers, firefighters and other first responders to the July 6 incident, his office determined there was “no criminal culpability for any individual involved in the response to the airline crash.”
The death of Ye Meng Yuan was a “tragic accident that did not involve any violation of our criminal laws,” Wagstaffe said in a statement.
Scouts leader’s damage to park feature scrutinized
Salt Lake City – Authorities are mulling whether to press charges against a Boy Scouts leader who purposely knocked over an ancient Utah desert rock formation and against the two men who cheered him on after they posted video of the incident online.
Two of the men, who were leading a group of teenage Boy Scouts on a trip, said the top of the rock formation was loose and they feared it was dangerous.
The rock formation at Goblin Valley State Park is about 170 million years old, Utah State Parks spokesman Eugene Swalberg said. The central Utah park is dotted with thousands of the eerie, mushroom-shaped sandstone formations.
In a video shot last Friday and posted on Facebook, Glenn Taylor, of Highland, can be seen wedging himself between a formation and a boulder to knock a large rock off the formation’s top. Taylor and his two companions can then be seen cheering, high-fiving and dancing.
“This is highly, highly inappropriate,” Swalberg told the Salt Lake Tribune. “This is not what you do at state parks. It’s disturbing and upsetting.”