- Associated Press - Saturday, March 15, 2014
Court: Tenn. must recognize 3 same-sex marriages

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - 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 preliminary 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.

“It’s the first nail in the coffin of discriminating against same-sex married couples in Tennessee,” said Abby Rubenfeld, one of the attorneys for the same-sex couples. “Every single court that has considered these same issues has ruled the same way.”

A spokesman for Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said in an email that Trauger’s decision is still being reviewed by officials.

“The governor is disappointed that the court has stepped in when Tennesseans have voted clearly on this issue,” David Smith said. “Beyond that it’s inappropriate to comment due to the continuing litigation.”


Duke LifePoint to acquire Pa. Conemaugh Health

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Conemaugh Health System of Johnstown has agreed to be acquired by Duke LifePoint Healthcare of Brentwood, Tennessee.

Conemaugh runs three hospitals in central Pennsylvania as well as outpatient centers and group practices. Under the terms of the agreement Duke LifePoint will invest more than $500 million in Conemaugh over the next 10 years.

Ron Vickroy, chairman of Conemaugh’s board of directors, says the move will create a stronger health care system for the region. The Conemaugh board worked with a specialized health care investment banking firm to review several possible affiliations.

Duke LifePoint Healthcare is a for-profit joint venture of Duke University Health System, Inc. and LifePoint Hospitals.


Midshipman chooses judge to decide assault case

WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. Naval Academy says a student accused of sexually assaulting a classmate during an off-campus party has elected to have a judge decide his case, rather than a military jury.

A school spokeswoman confirmed that Joshua Tate of Nashville, Tenn., made the decision Friday.

The former football player is charged with aggravated sexual assault and lying to investigators.

Prosecutors initially accused Tate and two other students of sexually assaulting a female student during a 2012 party at an off-campus house in Annapolis, Md., where the school is located.

The woman said she didn’t remember being sexually assaulted after a night of heavy drinking but heard from others she had had sex with multiple partners at the party. Tate is the only one who remains charged in the case.


TVA applies for permit for 54-acre landfill

GALLATIN, Tenn. (AP) - The Tennessee Valley Authority has filed for a permit to build a 54-acre landfill near Gallatin to store coal ash.

TVA spokesman Scott Brooks told WSMV-TV in Nashville (https://bit.ly/1fG9bP4https://bit.ly/1fG9bP4 ) that the landfill would hold leftover ash and gypsum that needs to be stored in a dry facility.

Sierra Club spokesman Chris Lunghino says it is critical that the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation ensure the landfill is well-engineered and well-sited because coal ash can be toxic.

TVA is still paying to cleanup a massive coal ash spill in 2008 in Kingston in eastern Tennessee.

TVA says the landfill should be ready to operate as soon as construction on the air controls is completed next year.

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