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Three Florida courthouses will no longer perform weddings after gay marriages ruled constitutional

Marriage equality in floridaThree Florida counties will no longer perform courthouse weddings in response to a judge's ruling to allow same-sex marriages across the state, according to a news report.

The decision by Duval, Clay and Baker counties comes after Judge Robert Hinkle announced Wednesday that any court refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses would be in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

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Former N.Y. governor Mario Cuomo dies at 82

Mario Cuomo diesMario Cuomo, the three-term New York governor and father of the state's current governor, died Thursday at the age of 82, according to multiple media reports.

Cuomo is among the most iconic New York governors of the 20th century, known for his liberal views, soaring speeches and deeply held beliefs that made him among the most prominent Democrats of his time. His death came the same day as his son, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was inaugurated for a second term.

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NYC Murders Fall to Lowest on Record

NYC murdrers at all time  lowThe number of murders in New York City has dropped to what years ago would have seemed like an impossible low: 328 killings recorded in 2014, the lowest figure since at least 1963, when the Police Department began collecting reliable statistics.

With hours left in 2014, the number of murders capped a year of lower numbers in nearly every major crime category and offered an answer to what had been a central question of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s first year: Could a mayor elected on promises of police reform keep the specter of the bad old days from returning?

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California welcomes 2015 with multiple earthquakes

California new year earthquakesThe western border of the United States rang in 2015 with a series of small earthquakes stretching from south of Los Angeles to northern California near the Oregon border.

Southern California was hit with 3.9-magnitude earthquake originating 12 miles off the shore of San Pedro, just south of Los Angeles, but residents described the shocks as feeling like a higher magnitude event.

Further north, the United States Geological Survey measured a 5.1-magnitude quake in the ocean off the coast of northern California near the Oregon maritime border.

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Illinois governor pardons 1800s abolitionists

Pat QuinnThree Illinois abolitionists who were convicted for anti-slavery efforts in the 1800s were posthumously pardoned Wednesday by Gov. Pat Quinn, their names among 102 people granted New Year's Eve clemency by the outgoing Chicago Democrat.

Efforts to pardon the three were spearheaded by Quincy historians and Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, who filed petitions on their behalf last year as part of a special project. Among them was an Underground Railroad conductor — Dr. Richard Eells —whose Quincy home was declared by the U.S. National Park Service as one of the nation's most important sites on the covert network that led escaped slaves to freedom and safety.

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Maryland Guv Saves Last Men on Death Row

Gov. Martin O'MalleyGov. Martin O'Malley said Wednesday that he would erase the last vestiges of Maryland's death row by commuting the sentences of the state's remaining condemned murderers to life without parole.

Acting on the last day of the year and with three weeks remaining in his term, O'Malley said he will spare the lives of four men left in limbo after Maryland abolished the death penalty for future offenders in 2013.

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Transgender teen blames Christian parents for suicide

Joshua alcornA transgender 16-year-old committed suicide and blamed her religious parents in a suicide note posted to Tumblr.

Born Joshua Alcorn, but preferring Leelah, the teen stepped in front of a tractor trailer on a highway near her family home in Kings Mill, Ohio, on Dec. 28.  A suicide note posted on her Tumblr page details the events that led to her life-ending decision.

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