Awaiting a stay. More than 200 gay couples obtained Arkansas marriage licenses Monday after a judge tossed out the state’s 10-year-old same-sex marriage ban. The judge, who issued the ruling late in the day Friday, did not include a stay of the order, as some have done in other states. Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel’s office requested a stay from the local judge Friday night but had to wait until the full court record was available Monday before going to the state Supreme Court. Justices gave both sides until midday Tuesday to file arguments. Meanwhile, only a handful of county clerks are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples while the rest wait for a higher court to rule.
Supporting Nagmeh. The makers of an upcoming Christian film have scheduled a special screening to raise money for the family of imprisoned Iranian-American pastor Saeed Abedini. Persecuted, the story of a televangelist under government investigation, opens July 18. According to The Hollywood Reporter, all proceeds from a $10-a-seat screening tonight in Rancho Mirage, Calif., will go to Abedini’s wife, Nagmeh, and her two children, who live in Boise, Idaho. Abedini has been in imprisoned in Iran for his Christian faith since mid-2012. Tonight’s screening is sponsored by Joshua Springs Calvary Chapel, which has already raised about $190,000 to help the Abedinis buy a house.
Primary death. American Idol singer Clay Aiken’s challenger in a too-close-to-call congressional primary died Monday after an accidental fall. Keith Crisco grew up on a farm in North Carolina and owned a textile business in Asheboro, N.C. Crisco’s business success allowed him to lend more than $500,000 to his campaign against Aiken, according to financial statements filed last month. Aiken led Crisco by 400 votes after last Tuesday’s election, but votes were still being counted as of today. The winner of the primary faces an uphill battle against incumbent Republican Renee Ellmers in a district that is a GOP stronghold.
Ukraine escalation. Two regions in eastern Ukraine declared independence Monday following referendums in which residents voted to join the Russian Federation. Russia has not agreed to annex Donetsk or Luhansk the way it subsumed Crimea. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the referendum had zero credibility and would not be acknowledged by the West. A presidential vote is scheduled in two weeks in Ukraine
Scouts’ honor. A group of Boy Scouts is getting some belated recognition this week after rescuing NBC journalist Ann Curry last month when she broke her leg while hiking. Members of Troop 368 from Berkeley Heights, N.J., came upon Curry and her family on Bear Mountain in New York’s Harriman State Park after her family tried unsuccessfully to carry her down a rugged path. The scouts fashioned a splint for her injured ankle and crafted a stretcher from logs and a tarp. They carried her down the mountain to where her husband and son brought their car to rush her to the hospital. Curry said her leg was so severely broken it would take 10 to 12 weeks to heal. Troop leader Rick Jurgens said many of the 14- to 16-year-old scouts were just following their training and didn’t realize they had rescued someone famous.