Forced recognition. An Ohio judge has ordered the state to recognize the same-sex marriage of two men, despite its ban on such unions. James Obergefell and John Arthur traveled to Maryland last week to get married so that Arthur, who is in the advanced stages of ALS, could die with the hope Obergefell would eventually be buried beside him in the Arthur family cemetery. Arthur’s grandfather stipulated only direct descendants and spouses could share the gravesite. The judge ruled Ohio was discriminating against the couple by not recognizing their out-of-state union. He noted the state recognizes other forbidden marriages conducted in other states, including those between first cousins. Although the ruling only applies to Obergefell and Arthur, their attorney acknowledged other homosexual couples likely would try to challenge and overturn Ohio’s law by traveling out of state to get married. The attorney representing the state noted the couple’s challenge had little to do with burial plots and everything to do with judicial activism and gay marriage rights.
Jail break. Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for attacks on two Iraqi jails that freed hundreds of prisoners on Sunday. The Islamist militant group claims senior leaders escaped, along with as many as 500 fighters. The Iraqi government at first said no prisoners escaped but then acknowledge “some” were missing. It’s not clear how many really broke free. The attack on the Abu Ghraib and Taji jails killed 20 prison guards and involved suicide and car bombs as well as gunmen. Fighting raged for hours before military helicopters helped restore order. An al Qaeda spokesman said the group spent months planning the coordinated attack.
Papal enthusiasm. Security teams for Pope Francis got a bit of a scare yesterday when mobs of enthusiastic youth surrounded his small, unprotected car as he rode to a reception on his first day of a week-long visit to Brazil. The incident didn’t seem to bother the Argentinian pope, who said later he looked forward to his return to South America: “I have learned that, to gain access to the Brazilian people, it is necessary to pass through their great heart, so let me knock gently at this door.” Francis is visiting the country for World Youth Day, a gathering of Catholic young people expected to draw about 300,000 people from around the world.
Rough landing. Passengers on a Southwest Airlines flight from Nashville, Tenn., to New York’s LaGuardia Airport had a rough landing Monday when the plane’s front wheel failed to come down as it was supposed to. The pilots said they had no warning about the landing gear’s failure and only realized they had a problem when the plane came down on its belly. The 150 passengers escaped the smoke-filled cabin on emergency slides. Only 10 people aboard the plane reported injuries, all relatively minor. The accident snarled traffic at one of the nation’s busiest airports and caused delays into Tuesday.
Divided by race. This likely won’t surprise anyone who’s followed the George Zimmerman trial and its aftermath, but reactions to the verdict depended largely on race, a Pew Research poll found. Among African-Americans, 86 percent said they were dissatisfied with Zimmerman’s acquittal. Among whites, only 30 percent of those surveyed said they were dissatisfied with the outcome. When asked whether they thought race was getting more attention in the trial discussion than it deserved, 60 percent of whites said yes, compared to just 13 percent of African-Americans. And only 28 percent of whites said the case raised important issues about race that needed to be addressed, compared to 78 percent of African-Americans.