Among other items: An FAA change starting today takes advantage of the pinpoint accuracy of modern avionics to almost double the number of corridors in the sky; and a three-time murderer who claimed he had a brain defect that made him easily swayed by others was put to death yesterday in California.
In what is believed to be the first ruling of its kind, a judge yesterday upheld the federal law letting states ban same-sex marriages, dismissing a lawsuit by two women seeking to have their Massachusetts marriage recognized in Florida.
Attorneys for conservative groups hailed the ruling by U.S. District Judge James Moody as an important first step, but the plaintiffs promised to appeal. “This is a legal shot heard ’round the world,” said attorney Ellis Rubin, who filed the lawsuit on the women’s behalf. “But … this case is going to be resolved in the U.S. Supreme Court, and I have said that since the day I filed it.”
Although several federal cases are challenging the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, attorneys said yesterday’s was the first by a federal judge on a direct challenge to the law.
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Elsewhere, the Louisiana Supreme Court yesterday unanimously reinstated an anti-gay- marriage amendment to the state constitution that was overwhelmingly approved by voters in September. The high court reversed a ruling by a state judge, who struck down the defense of marriage amendment on the grounds that the measure dealt with more than one subject, in violation of the Louisiana Constitution.
FAA lets planes fly closer together
A mere 1,000 feet of air will separate airplanes from other planes that are above and below at high altitudes in the United States, a change starting today that takes advantage of the pinpoint accuracy of modern avionics to almost double the number of corridors in the sky, the Federal Aviation Administration said yesterday.
The move will allow pilots to fly more direct routes, save the airlines billions of dollars in fuel costs and improve safety, according to the FAA, pilots and air-traffic controllers.
While planes will be stacked closer together vertically, the horizontal spacing will remain at least 5.75 miles, as will the vertical spacing of 1,000 feet for aircraft flying at altitudes of 29,000 feet and below.
San Quentin, Calif.
Man, 61, executed for 1981 murders
A three-time murderer who claimed he had a brain defect that made him easily swayed by others was put to death yesterday in California’s first execution in three years.
Donald Beardslee, 61, died by lethal injection nearly 25 years after murdering two women over a drug deal while on parole for a third killing.
The execution came hours after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger rejected a clemency petition and the Supreme Court turned down two last-minute appeals. Beardslee’s lawyers claimed he suffered from brain maladies when he killed Stacey Benjamin, 19, and Patty Geddling, 23, in 1981 to avenge a soured $185 drug deal.
Lowell Timmers, 54, of Michigan was charged yesterday with threatening to use an explosive device after telling police on Tuesday that he planned to blow up his van near the White House. Timmers surrendered Tuesday after a 4-1/2-hour standoff with police that snarled downtown traffic and forced President Bush’s motorcade to divert to another White House entrance.
Anna Escobedo Cabral may not be a household name, but pretty soon her name will be on the money. She was sworn in yesterday as the nation’s 42nd U.S. treasurer.
Patric Ian Henn, 29, who collected $68,000 after claiming a nonexistent domestic partner died in the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, was sentenced yesterday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to 2-1/2 years in prison and ordered to repay the Red Cross.