A federal appeals court on Monday struck down Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage, in a landmark victory for the gay rights movement in the United States. The Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals in the state capital Richmond said the ban violated the US Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law by infringing on the right to wed. "This is a historic ruling ... and its effect will affirm once again that Virginia is a state that is open and welcoming to all," he said in a statement. Virginia effectively banned same-sex marriage when a 2006 amendment to its state constitution -- endorsed by 57 percent of its voters in a referendum -- defined marriage strictly as a union between a man and a woman.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The record $2 billion sale of pro basketball's Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft Corp chief executive Steve Ballmer can proceed over the objections of co-owner Donald Sterling, a judge tentatively ruled on Monday. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas said the deal, brokered by Sterling's estranged wife, Shelly Sterling, was permissible and could be consummated even if Sterling, who has been banned for life from the NBA for racist remarks, chose to appeal. (Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Writing by Mary Milliken; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)