Zealous defense. Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, a Democrat, announced Saturday that while he supports same-sex marriage he will continue to defend his state’s voter-approved ban. McDaniel’s position on same-sex marriage is no surprise, but his decision to go to court to defend a law he personally disagrees with bucks a recent trend set by other state attorneys general. Several gay rights groups are challenging Arkansas’ constitutional amendment upholding traditional marriage, adopted by voters in 2004. A circuit court judge is expected to rule in the case this week. “I’m going to zealously defend our constitution, but at the same time I think it’s important to let people [know] where I stand on the matter,” McDaniel told the Associated Press. McDaniel has criticized U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for telling the states top law enforcement officers they didn’t have to defend same-sex marriage bans.
Small comfort? Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop sanctioned by the Episcopal Church, announced Saturday he is divorcing the man he married in a civil union in 2008. Robinson, who retired as bishop of New Hampshire in 2013, said he had been in a relationship with Mark Andrew for about 25 years. Even as he dissolved his union, Robinson proclaimed it as a victory for gay marriage: “It is at least a small comfort to me, as a gay rights and marriage equality advocate, to know that like any marriage, gay and lesbian couples are subject to the same complications and hardships that afflict marriages between heterosexual couples,” Robinson wrote in a column for the Daily Beast.
Keep your gun at home. The U.S. Supreme Court announced today it would not hear a challenge to a New Jersey law that prevents most people from carrying guns outside the home. The decision, or lack thereof, is a blow to gun-rights groups, which had argued the law violated the Second Amendment’s guarantee of self-defense. The plaintiffs had hoped the court would take the case, in part because federal appeals courts have disagreed on similar cases involving gun restrictions. While lower courts backed the New Jersey law, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a California law that banned San Diego County residents from having weapons outside their homes.
Dangerous entertainment. Eight female acrobats with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus were injured on Sunday after a metal frame crashed 30 feet to the ground during their act. The women were hanging by their hair at the time of the accident in Providence, R.I. Investigators said a clamp holding the frame snapped. Three women are in critical condition. Others sustained less serious injuries.
Thanks, but no thanks. Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice will not deliver the commencement speech on May 18 at Rutgers University after students protested her invitation. In a statement issued Saturday, Rice said she would decline the opportunity. “Commencement should be a time of joyous celebration for the graduates and their families,” Rice said. “Rutgers’ invitation to me to speak has become a distraction for the university community at this very special time.” Despite the months-long protests, school President Bob Barchi stood by the invitation: “Whatever your personal feelings or political views about our commencement speaker, there can be no doubt that Condoleezza Rice is one of the most influential intellectual and political figures of the last 50 years.”