Another day? Amid a rash of challenges to laws upholding traditional marriage, state officials are scrambling to defend statutes approved by voters and legislatures across the country. And in some cases, they must work around colleagues who disagree with the laws they were elected to uphold. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett announced Tuesday his office would lead the fight against an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit filed on behalf of 23 couples who claim the state’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional. State Attorney General Kathleen Kane refused to take the case. She claimed that after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) she decided Pennsylvania’s law defining marriage as between only one man and one woman violated both the due process and equal protection provisions of the U.S. Constitution. But James D. Schultz, Corbett’s general counsel, disagrees: “To the contrary, [the DOMA case] clearly leaves for another day the limits that the U.S. Constitution might impose on the states in their regulation of the marital relationship.” And that’s exactly the point: The ACLU and other gay-marriage activists are pushing for another day to come as soon as possible.
Rates approved. The U.S. House of Representatives late yesterday passed a measure tying the federally subsidized student loan rate to market-based interest rates and delaying increases set to take effect this fall. The Senate passed the bill last week, and President Barack Obama is expected to sign it into law. Undergraduate borrowing rates, which had been set at 3.4 percent, will rise to about 3.85 percent—the Treasury bill rate plus 2.05 percentage points. But the rates are likely to rise as the economy improves. They will be capped for undergrads at 8.25 percent. Before the 2007 deal to lower student loan costs, the rate was set at 6.8 percent.
Life in prison. Later today, a Cleveland judge is expected to sentence kidnapper Ariel Castro to life in prison plus 1,000 years for snatching three women off the streets and holding them captive for almost 10 years. Castro, in exchange for avoiding the death penalty, pleaded guilty last week to most of the charges filed against him. During today’s sentencing hearing, witnesses testified to Castro’s brutality and the physical and psychological torture his victims suffered. Early this afternoon, Michelle Knight, whom Castro abducted in 2002, took the stand to describe how she cried every night and “years turned into eternity.” Lawyers for Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus, Knight’s fellow victims, would not confirm whether their clients would appear in court.
Dead-of-night ceremonies. As the clock struck midnight in Minnesota and Rhode Island, dozens of same-sex couples took their vows or picked up marriage licenses in the latest two states to legalize the unions. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and several Hennepin County judges married 63 couples before dawn this morning.
Bull market. It might not close out the day this high, but the Standard & Poor’s 500 topped the 1,700 mark for the first time in history this morning. The Department of Labor’s weekly jobless claims report, which showed claims for unemployment insurance fell to their lowest point since 2008, fired the early rally.