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GAY MARRIAGE-FLORIDA

Appeal court won't unblock Florida gay marriage

MIAMI (AP) - A Florida appeals court will not overturn a judge's order that is blocking a Florida Keys gay couple from getting married.

The Miami-based 3rd District Court of Appeal on Wednesday refused to invalidate a Monroe County judge's decision preventing a wedding for Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones and other gay couples.

Circuit Judge Luis Garcia last week ruled that Florida's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and that marriage licenses could be issued to gays in Monroe County beginning Tuesday.

Attorney General Pam Bondi immediately filed notice of appeal, triggering an automatic stay that prevents any gay marriages until a potentially months-long appeals process is sorted out. Garcia then refused to lift that stay.

FLORIDA REDISTRICTING

Groups ask judge to move election and draw new map

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A Florida judge is being asked to move election dates this fall and adopt new districts for Congress.

Circuit Judge Terry Lewis ruled that the state Legislature illegally drew Florida's congressional districts to primarily benefit the Republican Party.

Florida legislative leaders say they will redraw the districts, but they have asked Lewis to delay that until after the November elections.

Groups suing the Legislature filed their own motion Wednesday saying that legislators can't be trusted to follow the law. They want Lewis to adopt a new map they submitted, or have an independent expert draw one up.

The motion also asks Lewis to adjust this fall's election calendar. Some of the suggestions include moving the state's Aug. 26 primary to Sept. 30, or even moving the general election date.

NASA ROCKET

Audit: NASA doesn't have the money for big rockets

WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal auditors say NASA doesn't have enough money to start launching its new, $12 billion rocket program by the end of 2017 as planned.

The congressional Government Accountability Office on Wednesday issued a report saying NASA's new Space Launch System is at high risk of missing its planned December 2017 initial test flight. The post-space shuttle program would build the biggest rockets ever to send astronauts to asteroids and Mars.

The report said NASA's own officials told the GAO that there is a 90 percent chance they can't meet the launch date with current funding.

Report author Cristina Chaplain said it's not that NASA has busted its budget for the program because of technical problems. It's just that NASA didn't get enough money to carry out the massive undertaking.

TURNPIKE PIZZA-LAWSUIT

New Jersey sues over Florida pizza shop logo

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - The New Jersey Turnpike Authority wants a Florida pizza shop to pay a big toll for using a logo similar to the iconic Garden State Parkway's green and yellow signs.

The agency sued Jersey Boardwalk Pizza Tuesday in federal court over the logo it uses for its two pizza shops and on merchandise sold online. It says the company is trying to trade upon the fame of the Garden State Parkway logo to attract customers and potential franchisees.

A lawyer for the company defends the company's use of the logo and says there's no way anyone would confuse a highway and a pizza place 1,300 miles away.

The turnpike authority calls the Garden State Parkway one of the most iconic and well known highways in the country.

DETECTIVE-CREDIT CARD FRAUD

Fla. detective gets 9 years for credit fraud

MIAMI (AP) - A former South Florida police detective has been sentenced to more than nine years in prison for identity theft and credit card fraud.

The U.S. Attorney's Office reports that 39-year-old William Garcia was sentenced Wednesday. The former Sweetwater detective was convicted in April of conspiracy, use of a counterfeit access device and 10 counts of aggravated identity theft. Besides the prison term, Garcia must also pay $13,000 in restitution.

Trial evidence showed that Garcia had an improper relationship with a former confidential source who was a convicted felon. The source provided Garcia and a South Miami detective with counterfeit credit cards that were used in shopping malls, restaurants, movie theaters and elsewhere.

Several meetings between the source and Garcia were video recorded by the FBI.

STOLEN TRUCK-FATAL CRASH

1 killed after stolen truck forced off road

(Information in the following story is from: Ocala (Fla.) Star-Banner, http://www.starbanner.com/ )

OCALA, Fla. (AP) - Authorities say one person is dead and two others are seriously injured after a high-speed chase ended with a stolen pickup being forced off a north Florida highway.

The chase began Wednesday morning after Ocala police say the truck was stolen from outside a health spa.

Officials say the suspects fled police, driving the truck at speeds of more than 100 mph, running red lights and endangering the public.

The truck eventually reached Dixie County, where authorities say Sheriff Dewey Hatcher used his department vehicle to force the thief off the road near Cross City.

The Ocala Star-Banner reports that the person who died was an occupant of the stolen truck. Hatcher was unharmed.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is assisting with the investigation.

GOP-2016-RUBIO

Rubio goes full-tilt cultural conservative

WASHINGTON (AP) - Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida says supporters of gay marriage often show "intolerance" toward people like him who support heterosexual marriages.

Rubio on Wednesday also told an audience at Catholic University that those who support abortion rights ignore the rights of "the unborn."

Trying to win forgiveness for pushing a failed immigration overhaul, Rubio is rushing to woo social conservatives ahead of a potential 2016 White House run. While Rubio has consistently held conservative positions on gay marriage and abortion, his emphasis now is an effort to find support among social conservatives who have yet to settle on a favored candidate in the presidential campaign.

Rubio says America cannot be a great nation unless it has great morals and values.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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