Monday, January 22, 2018
News Roundup

Feds recognize same-sex couples in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Friday that the federal government will recognize same-sex unions in Utah, marking the latest significant show of support for gay marriage from the Obama administration.

The action means that more than 1,000 same-sex couples who were married in Utah in the past month can file federal taxes jointly, get Social Security benefits for spouses and request legal immigration status for partners, among other benefits.

The declaration by Holder marked the latest chapter in the legal battle over same-sex marriage in Utah that has sent couples and state officials on a helter-skelter wave of emotions over the past three weeks.

A federal judge overturned Utah's ban on same-sex marriage on Dec. 20, and hundreds of couples got married. The U.S. Supreme Court intervened this week and put a halt to the weddings until the courts sort out the matter. Utah then declared it would not recognize the weddings but would allow couples to continue to receive whatever benefits they had obtained before the high court ruling.

The Mormon church weighed in again Friday, instructing local leaders that same-sex wedding ceremonies and receptions are prohibited in its churches and reiterating its belief that homosexuality is not condoned by God.

But for same-sex couples who have experienced a wave of emotions, the show of support from the federal government provided validation and turned a rally at the Utah Capitol into a raucous celebration.

Among the hundreds of people who packed the rotunda for the midday rally were Seth Anderson and Michael Ferguson, the first gay couple to legally marry in Utah following the Dec. 20 ruling. They said they were elated to hear that they will be allowed to file taxes jointly and enjoy the benefits afforded any married couple.

"It is a great feeling to know the federal government stands with us, especially in a state that has for years tried to exclude us," Anderson said.

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Police: 2 IEDs detonated at a Florida mall, no injuries

LAKE WALES — Police say two improvised explosive devices ignited inside a mall in central Florida on Sunday do not appear to be an act of terrorism.Lake Wales police Deputy Chief Troy Schulze tells news outlets that at 5:22 p.m., the Lake Wales Fire ...
Updated: 20 minutes ago

The Daystarter: Women’s March returns to St. Petersburg; PolitiFact Florida analyzes prison costs; Free dental clinic services in high demand; Arrrrr you ready for Gasparilla?

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.• We’ll have a mild and sunny start to the week, with highs in the upper 70s, according to 10Weather WTSP. A weak cold front brings a chance of rain on Tuesday and slightly coo...
Updated: 9 hours ago
PolitiFact Florida: Claims about prison price-gouging decry $17 soup, $18 tampons

PolitiFact Florida: Claims about prison price-gouging decry $17 soup, $18 tampons

Advocates of Florida prisoners protested outside of the Florida Department of Corrections in Tallahassee on Tuesday, demanding answers to questions of alleged price-gouging in prisons across the state.Protesters from dozens of grass roots organizatio...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Hooper: Deal with sea-level rise or prepare to be inundated

When fans again flock to Tampa’s Bayshore Boulevard for the annual Gasparilla Festival on Saturday, I hope they ask a question: Will the floats need flotation devices in 2035?Erika Spanger-Siegfried, Astrid Caldas and Kate Cell, members of the Union ...
Published: 01/22/18
Add swagger to Lightning’s loss column

Add swagger to Lightning’s loss column

CHICAGO — It didn’t take the sound of a door slamming in the visitor’s dressing room Saturday night to sense this Lightning team is frustrated.Tampa Bay believed it had worked hard against the Wild — at least, harder than it did in Thursday’s letharg...
Updated: 6 hours ago

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Updated: 7 hours ago

Hillsborough diver who died in Eagle’s Nest Cave was adventurous but experienced

Davin Brannon was a pilot, a spearfisherman, an avid cave and open-water diver and an experienced all-around adventurer, said those close to him ."I guess you could say he died doing what he loved," his cousin Pam Kirven said. "But I also know he’d n...
Updated: 7 hours ago
‘Three Billboards’ sweeps female-focused SAG Awards

‘Three Billboards’ sweeps female-focused SAG Awards

LOS ANGELES — The Western-inspired revenge tale Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri swept the female-focused and led Screen Actors Guild Awards Sunday with wins for best ensemble, best actress for Frances McDormand and best supporting actor for...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Shutdown opens week

Shutdown opens week

Associated PressWASHINGTON — The government shutdown will extend into the workweek as the Senate appeared to inch closer to ending a partisan stalemate late Sunday but fell short of agreement. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Democratic...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Record number of inmates died in Florida prisons last year. And they died younger than past years.

Record number of inmates died in Florida prisons last year. And they died younger than past years.

More inmates died in Florida prisons last year than in any other year on record, leaving the state scrambling to identify causes and find solutions. The tally, 428 inmate deaths in 2017, was released late Friday by the Florida Department of Correctio...
Updated: 8 hours ago