World and Nation

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Federal judge affirms Louisiana’s same-sex marriage ban

NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge here upheld Louisiana’s ban on same-sex marriage Wednesday, going against what had been a unanimous trend of federal court decisions striking down such bans since the Supreme Court ruled on the matter last year.

In his ruling, Judge Martin L.C. Feldman of U.S. District Court said that the regulation of marriage was left up to the states and the democratic process; that no fundamental right was being violated by the ban; and that the state had a “legitimate interest … whether obsolete in the opinion of some, or not, in the opinion of others … in linking children to an intact family formed by their two biological parents.”

That this ruling ran counter to a wave of other federal decisions across the country in recent months was immediately noted by opponents of the ban.

“We always anticipated that it would be a difficult challenge,” said J. Dalton Courson, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, adding that the ruling would be appealed to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. “We certainly are disappointed considering the string of rulings in favor of same-sex marriage.”

—Campbell Robertson, The New York Times

USA Today cuts 70 newsroom and business employees

USA Today, the Gannett Co.’s flagship paper, laid off roughly 70 people on Wednesday. The cuts appeared to be equally split between employees in the newsroom and other departments, and they equaled less than 10 percent of the total workforce.

Weeks earlier, Gannett announced that it was spinning its newspapers into a separate company next year. Other companies, including 21st Century Fox (formerly News Corp.), the Tribune Co. and Time Warner, have taken similar steps to separate their more lucrative television and cable assets from their struggling print divisions. Gannett portrayed Wednesday’s cuts not just as a way to save money but as part of its aggressive transition to a more Internet-focused product.

“USA Today is working to align its staffing levels to meet current market conditions. The actions taken today will allow USA Today to reinvest in the business to ensure the continued success of its digital transformation,” Jeremy Gaines, a spokesman for Gannett, said in a statement.

While Gannett will not saddle the new publishing company with heavy debt, as Tribune and Time Warner did with their new print entities, it is expected to have significant struggles ahead nevertheless.

The publishing division has not had year-over-year revenue growth since 2006. In the second quarter of this year, it posted a 37.5 percent decline in operating income, to $53.2 million from $85 million, compared with the same quarter a year ago.

—Leslie Kaufman, The New York Times