Washington, D.C.

Health insurance rule: All couples have access

Addressing gay and lesbian concerns, the Obama administration Friday moved to expand health insurance access for same-sex couples and close a loophole that threatened to leave some HIV/AIDS patients without coverage.

In separate announcements, the Health and Human Services Department said: Insurers offering spousal coverage for heterosexual couples must also provide it to legally married couples of the same gender. And insurers cannot turn down HIV/AIDS patients whose premiums are being paid through the federal Ryan White program.

The administration acted after gays and lesbians complained about confusing rules on spousal coverage in the new health insurance exchanges, particularly in states that do not recognize same-sex marriage.

new york

Donald Trump: I'm not running for governor

Donald Trump said Friday on Twitter that he will not run for governor of New York, but that he has "much bigger plans in mind."

Michael Cohen, Trump's special counsel, confirmed that Trump will not run.

Trump had been flirting with challenging Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo for some months. But he had said he would run only if he faced no rival for the Republican nomination.


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Tennessee

State told to recognize three gay marriages

A federal judge ordered the state of Tennessee on Friday to recognize the marriages of three same-sex couples while their lawsuit against the state works its way through the court system.

U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger issued the injunction barring the state from enforcing laws prohibiting recognition of their marriages.

In her written memorandum, Trauger makes clear that her order is only temporary and only applies to the three same-sex couples. A preliminary injunction can only be granted in cases the judge believes the plaintiff will likely win.

Arkansas

Ban on abortions at 12 weeks struck down

A federal Judge Friday struck down Arkansas' attempt to ban most abortions beginning 12 weeks into a woman's pregnancy, saying viability, not a heartbeat, remains the key factor in determining whether abortions should be allowed.

U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright last year had stopped enforcement of the law while she reviewed it, and Friday she declared that it was unconstitutional. She cited previous court decisions that said abortions shouldn't be restricted until after a fetus reaches viability, which is typically at 22 to 24 weeks.

"The state presents no evidence that a fetus can live outside the mother's womb at twelve weeks," the judge wrote.

By adopting a ban based on a fetal heartbeat, and not the ability to survive, the Arkansas Legislature had adopted the nation's toughest abortion law last March. Two weeks later, North Dakota lawmakers passed a bill restricting abortions at six weeks -- or before some women would know they're pregnant. That law is on hold.

Connecticut

No charges in deadly shooting of masked son

A fifth-grade teacher will not face prosecution for fatally shooting in 2012 a knife-wielding prowler in a ski mask who turned out to be his 15-year-old son, a prosecutor said Friday.

Jeffrey Giuliano reasonably believed the masked person "presented him with the threat of imminent death or great bodily harm" and that he needed to use deadly force to defend himself, State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky III wrote.

Investigators were unable to determine why the boy, Tyler Giuliano, was outside the New Fairfield home after midnight wearing a ski mask and carrying a flip-style knife with the blade open and a roll of duct tape under his arm.

"Obviously we're relieved," said Giuliano's attorney, Gene Zingaro. "That being said, today is not a happy day for the Giuliano family. We expected this result from the beginning, because we always felt like he was justified in his actions that night."

Associated Press