- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Tennessee governor appeals same-sex marriage order

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee’s governor on Tuesday asked a federal judge to put her ruling requiring the state to recognize the marriages of three same-sex couples on hold while a higher court weighs in on the case.

Gov. Bill Haslam and state Attorney General Robert Cooper said in a motion that overturning the law without an appeals court reviewing the case “frustrates the will of the people.” Haslam and Cooper said leaving the status quo in place pending an appeals court decision would not harm the three couples who sued for recognition.

“We intend to take all necessary steps to defend the law,” said Sharon Curtis-Flair, a spokeswoman for Cooper’s office.

U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger on Friday ordered the state to recognize the unions of the couples, who were married in other states.

Trauger issued a preliminary injunction, which can be granted only in cases the judge believes the plaintiff will likely win.

In Tennessee, marriage between partners of the same sex is prohibited by state law and by a constitutional amendment approved in 2006.

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Haslam’s free tuition proposal advancing in House

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposal to create a community college program for all high school graduates is a step closer to a full House vote.

The “Tennessee Promise” legislation advanced out of the House Education Committee on a voice vote Tuesday.

The proposal would cover a full ride at two-year schools for any high school graduate, at a cost of $34 million per year.

The measure was amended to change lottery scholarship amounts. Initially, the bill sought to lower the current $4,000 lottery scholarship amount at four-year colleges to $3,000 for freshmen and sophomores, but increase it to $5,000 for juniors and seniors.

The amended version makes the amount $3,500 for freshman and sophomores, and $4,500 for juniors and seniors.

The move is meant to encourage students to consider going to two-year colleges first.

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1st production model Stratocaster for sale: $250K

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - George Gruhn’s guitar shop in Nashville is a kind of mecca for fine, vintage musical instruments, but even Gruhn is blown away by the latest addition to his inventory. He says it’s the very first production model Fender Stratocaster ever made.

You can own it for a cool quarter million dollars.

“This is special,” Gruhn told The Associated Press. “It’s not special as memorabilia because it was owned by anybody special. But it is special because this is effectively like having the right Rembrandt or Van Gogh or Da Vinci. It’s special because of what it is and who did this. Not because of who owned it.”

The sunburst-finish Strat bears the serial number 0100. Although some Strats have lower numbers that begin with 0001, Gruhn says they actually were manufactured later in that first year of production. He says the number-one Strat was sold to an amateur who evidently took good care of it.

“This one didn’t go to a famous performer,” he said. “It actually went to Joe Blow Public. But it stayed in good condition, hardly used. And then, a bit over 30 years ago, Richard Smith, who is a curator today at the museum of the city of Fullerton, Calif., where this guitar was made, bought this guitar.”

Smith purchased the guitar from the original owner. Gruhn said the record-keeping on the guitar is superb because Smith is considered one of the foremost experts on Stratocasters. Smith is selling it on consignment through Gruhn’s Guitars.

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Woman in Naval Academy sex assault case testifies

WASHINGTON (AP) - The woman at the center of a sexual assault case against a former Naval Academy football player testified Tuesday that the midshipman “kind of laughed” when she asked him if they had sex at an alcohol-fueled party and said: “What? You don’t remember?”

On the opening day of Joshua Tate’s trial, the alleged victim said she drank heavily at the 2012 party and doesn’t remember much of what happened that night. Tate, of Nashville, Tenn., faces charges of aggravated sexual assault and lying to investigators in a trial that turns on whether the woman was too drunk to consent to sex. The closely watched court-martial comes at a time when the military is under heavy scrutiny to curb sexual assaults in the Armed Forces.

During opening statements, prosecutor Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Stormer described the woman as drinking “shot after shot after shot” and taking “swig and swig and swig” from a bottle of alcohol. Stormer said the woman eventually became so drunk that she blacked out, walking and talking but not remembering what was going on.

One of Tate’s attorneys, meanwhile, argued the woman was able to make her own decisions, including those about sex. Cmdr. Art Record described the woman as “upright, walking around,” having significant conversations, and even rebuffing the advances of one man.

“She was processing information. She was physically in control of her body,” Record said.

Record said the woman later told a friend that the party was “crazy” and “what I did last night, I did it, and I wanted to do it.” The alleged victim denied during her testimony that she made that statement.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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