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A federal appeals court ruled today that it will not review a three-judge panel's decision to overturn California's Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage.

Proposition 8 banned gay marriage in California, before it was ruled unconstitutional last year. Proponents plan to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

That would put battle for same-sex marriage on a national stage.

Prop 8 Signs

The ruling comes after a federal court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which says states don't have to recognize gay marriages in other states and defines marriage as between a man and a woman for federal purposes, is unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court could also decide to hear that case next year.

In February, a three-judge panel in California voted 2-1 against the voter-approved gay marriage ban, upholding an earlier decision by Judge Vaughn Walker.

The panel said that by denying same-sex marriage rights, Proposition 8 violated the equal protection clause and due process clause of the U.S. Constitution.

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Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the British throne 60 years ago this week.

Her Diamond Jubilee celebration has commemorated this rare feat - she's only the second monarch to rule that long - with a series of events in the past few days.

Here's Her Royal Majesty leaving a service of thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral earlier Tuesday (June 5) in London, England, which she attended with her family:

Queen Elizabeth II Photo

The 86-year-old has spent her Diamond Jubilee with many members of the Royal Family, including her son Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

The Queen's grandchildren, Princess Eugenie, Princess Beatrice, Prince Harry and Prince William (with wife Kate Middleton) also participated in the festivities.

To mark the occasion, revered by Britons, U.S. President Barack Obama sent “heartfelt congratulations” to The Queen in a video message from the White House.

“As a steadfast ally, loyal friend and tireless leader, your majesty has set an example of resolve that will be long celebrated," the President told the Queen.

"As we work together to build a better future, it is gratifying to know that the bonds between our nations remain indispensable to our two countries and the world.”

“In honour of your 60 extraordinary years on the throne, communities across the commonwealth have lit thousands of Jubilee beacons,” Barack added.

“May the light of your majesty’s crown reign supreme for many years to come.”

[Photo: WENN.com]

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Hoping to reach a young demographic, Team Re-Elect President Barack Obama introduced its first national television spot last night during the MTV Movie Awards.

The commercial features Sarah Jessica Parker, who "says you should be able to marry anyone you want" as part of the reason why she's voting for Obama, while also touting how he's "created four million jobs."

The actress adds:

"As a woman, a mother, and an entrepreneur, I need to believe our country can be a place where everyone has a fair shot at success. This November's election will determine whether we get to keep moving forward, or if we're forced to go back to policies that ask people like my middle-class family in Ohio to carry the burden - while people like me, who don't need tax breaks, get extra help."

Who will you vote for this fall?

 

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Ashley Biden, the daughter of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, got married on Saturday to Philadelphia surgeon Howard Krein before more than 200 friends and family.

The couple wed at the steepled St. Joseph on the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church, in Greenville, Delaware. It's the same church where she was baptized.

The ceremony combined the bride's Catholic traditions and the groom's Jewish ones.

Ashley Biden and Howard Krein

Afterward, the reception took place at the Biden family's lakeside home in Wilmington, Del., for a reception and dinner served family-style in the backyard.

The Vice President and his wife, Jill Biden, re-sodded the property and planted special fast-growing vines up the latticework around the party tent.

Joe Biden escorted the bride, who wore Vera Wang, down the aisle and had prepared to be emotional about giving away the youngest of his three children.

"I kept telling Ash, we've got to open up the church and practice walking up and down the aisle so I can handle it," the V.P. said last week.

He reminisced about the last time he saw Ashley Biden in a veil - at her First Communion. "I think to myself, aw, God, my little girl! This can't have passed so quick."

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After a jury found John Edwards not guilty on one count and declared itself deadlocked on another five charges on Thursday, the two-time Presidential candidate accepted full responsibility for his "sins" even as he maintained he did nothing illegal.

The politician, who is unlikely to be retried for alleged campaign finance fraud, spoke emotionally about his 4-year-old daughter with mistress Rielle Hunter.

Despite his sensational and stunning fall from grace, Edwards professed his love for "my precious Quinn, who I love more than any of you could ever imagine."

"I am so close to and so, so grateful for [her] ... I'm so grateful for Quinn."

It was Edwards' alleged efforts to use illegal campaign contributions to cover up his affair with Hunter that stood at the center of his federal corruption trial.

After praising the jury as "an exemplar of what jurors are supposed to do," he said, "I want to make sure that everyone hears from me and from my voice."

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In the wake of reports that bath salts may have played a role in Saturday's Miami zombie apocalypse attack, the U.S. Senate passed a bill to ban the substances.

Federal legislation criminalizing synthetic marijuana and some bath salts passed the Senate today and is now on its way to the House of Representatives.

The law was not passed as a result of the zombie apocalypse, but as part of the FDA Safety and Innovation Act, championed by Sen. Charles Schumer.

Eugene and Poppo

"Let this be a warning to those who make a profit manufacturing and selling killer chemical components to our teens and children," Schumer (D-NY) said.

"This bill closes loopholes that have allowed manufacturers to circumvent local and state bans," he said of the effort to ban "these deadly synthetic drugs."

Last Saturday, Rudy Eugene, 31, was shot dead by local police on the off-ramp of the MacArthur Causeway in Miami. He was eating another man's face.

As a police officer told Eugene to get off Ronald Poppo, he "just stood ... with pieces of flesh in his mouth and he growled," eyewitness Larry Vega said.

An ER doctor at the local Jackson Memorial Hospital told the Herald that Eugene's attack may have been brought on by psychosis caused by bath salts.

The extreme violence, super-human strength and an urge to shed clothes all correspond with reports of bath salt usage around the United States.

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John Edwards was found not guilty on one of six counts in his campaign finance fraud trial today, with the jury hopelessly deadlocked on the remaining charges.

Judge Catherine Eagles declared a mistrial on the five counts for which the jury couldn't reach a verdict. He can therefore be retried, but it's unlikely he will be.

Edwards, a two-time presidential candidate, was accused of soliciting nearly $1 million from donors to cover up his affair and love child with Rielle Hunter.

He was found unanimously not guilty on Count 3 of the six-part indictment.

John Edwards is Pumped!

That count pertained only to whether Edwards illegally received hundreds of thousands of dollars from heiress Rachel "Bunny" Mellon to cover up the affair.

Just hours ago, the foreman announced that the jury was deadlocked on five of the six counts, but Eagles ordered them to go back to deliberating.

The jury came back less than an hour later and declared itself hung, or deadlocked with no possibility of changing that fact, on the five counts.

Following the verdict, the two-time presidential hopeful hugged attorney Abbe Lowell, his daughter Cate Edwards, 30, and his two elderly parents.

The jury began deliberating May 18 in the case, which took on an air of a steamy soap opera as much as a debate over intricacies of campaign finance law.

The government spent three weeks building its thin case, much of it tethered to the testimony of Andrew Young, once Edwards' most loyal aide.

Edwards' defense - that he lied to keep the affair a secret from his terminally ill wife, not to advance his career - was tough to disprove, however.

He's a miserable human being, but that doesn't mean he acted illegally.

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Detainees at Guantanamo Bay subjected to Sesame Street music for days on end in efforts to break their will, according to an Al Jazeera documentary.

In the film, called "Songs of War," detainees at the U.S. Naval base have been forced to wear headphones blaring Sesame Street music on repeat.

All in the name of messing with them so badly that they'll talk.

The award-winning Sesame Street composer Christopher Cerf (2:00 mark above) tells Al Jazeera, "My first reaction was 'this just can't possibly be true.'"

"I didn't care for the idea that I was helping break down prisoners, but it was much worse when I heard later that they were actually using the music in Guantanamo for long-term interrogations and obviously to inflict pain on prisoners so they would talk."

Wow. Elmo can get a little annoying after awhile, but really?

Note to CIA operatives: LFO's "Summer Girls" would work a lot better, or anything by that rumored hermaphrodite Lady Gaga. The extremists HATE her.

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A federal judge told jurors in the John Edwards trial that they must continue deliberating, just moments after the jury announced a verdict - on one of six counts.

The courtroom was briefly thrown into confusion this afternoon in Greensboro, N.C.

All sides were told a verdict had been reached, but once in court, the jury announced it had only reached a unanimous verdict on Count 3 of the indictment.

On the other five counts, the jury was deadlocked. The Count 3 verdict was not read.

Edwards, J

Edwards' defense team asked the judge to accept the verdict on Count 3 and declare a mistrial on other charges. The judge considered, but denied that motion.

Judge Catherine Eagles told the jury, who has been deliberating in the case since May 18, must continue to work towards a verdict on the other charges.

The trial centers around whether Edwards illegally received over $700,000 in donations to conceal his illicit affair and illegitimate child with Rielle Hunter.

The nearly month-long trial at times sounded more like a steamy soap opera about his life than a trial on the intricacies of campaign finance rules.

Charged with six counts of violating federal campaign laws, Edwards was accused of soliciting money to cover up his affair and advance his election bid.

If convicted, Edwards faces up to 30 years in prison and be fined more than $1 million, although it is unlikely he will face the most severe penalties.

Any lies John told, his lawyers, were to keep the affair a secret from his wife, Elizabeth, who was dying of cancer, not to advance his political career.

In short, being an ass is not illegal.

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An appeals court ruled Thursday that the Defense of Marriage Act, a law that essentially denies a host of benefits to gay married couples, is unconstitutional.

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston said the law, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, discriminates against gay couples.

Ya think?

DOMA

The law was passed in 1996 by a Republican-led Congress at a time when it appeared as if Hawaii would become the first state to legalize gay marriage.

Since then, many states have instituted their own bans on gay marriage, while eight states have approved it. Massachusetts was the first in 2004.

The appeals court ruled the DOMA is unconstitutional because it interferes with the right of a state to define marriage and denies married gay couples federal benefits given to heterosexual married couples, including the ability to file joint tax returns.

Somewhere in Indiana, this church kid is singing an angry song.

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