By Roberta Rampton and Susan Cornwell WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Friday defended his administration's decision to delay for some people the requirement to buy medical insurance under his healthcare law, but acknowledged that the botched rollout of the policy was his biggest mistake of 2013. "Since I'm in charge, obviously we screwed it up," Obama said at his year-end news conference. The sudden change was announced four days before the federal government's deadline to sign up for coverage that starts on January 1 under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was passed in 2010 and set up online exchanges, or marketplaces, for enrollment. Republicans seized on the latest announcement as further proof that the law known as Obamacare is unworkable, but Obama said it was just a bump in the road.
By Jennifer Dobner SALT LAKE CITY (Reuters) - A federal judge struck down Utah's ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional on Friday, handing a major victory to gay rights activists in a conservative state where the Mormon church wields considerable influence. U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby, ruling in a lawsuit brought by three gay couples, found that an amendment to the Utah Constitution defining marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman violated the rights of gay couples to due process and equal protection under the U.S. Constitution. The judge's 53-page written decision barred the state from enforcing its ban and adds to growing momentum toward legalizing gay marriage across the nation. It also touched off an immediate rush to the altar by gay couples, especially in Salt Lake City, where a festive atmosphere broke out in the county government building that played host to a string of impromptu weddings - including that of a state senator to his longtime partner.
The family of an unarmed man shot dead by Los Angeles police after a car chase filed a $20 million claim with the city on Friday, and the man's 80-year-old father described to reporters his reaction to seeing the shooting live on a TV newscast. The filing of the claim came a day after Police Chief Charlie Beck said he was "concerned about the circumstances that led up to and resulted" in the December 13 shooting, and he put the three officers involved on leave until an investigation is done. The car chase began when Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies tried to pull over the driver of a Chevrolet Corvette for reckless driving, police said in a statement. Los Angeles police officers took over the chase from the deputies, and it ended when the driver crashed into another car at a downtown intersection, exited his vehicle and was shot, the statement said.