It’s the Friday before Christmas and that generally signals a near-instant decline in news, sometimes until after Jan. 1. But the Arkansas Blog will be on standby, as close as an e-mail. Here’s the holiday eve open line, with a few things:

* ANOTHER RULING AGAINST GAY MARRIAGE BAN: A Utah federal judge has struck down that state’s ban on same-sex marriage as a violation of the federal equal protection amendment. I hope we can say the same in Arkansas before too very long in a pending lawsuit here. From the New York Times:

Judge Shelby said the state had failed to show that allowing same-sex marriages would affect opposite-sex marriages in any way, and that the state’s unsupported fears and speculations were not sufficient to justify barring same-sex marriages.

Lawyers for the state had argued that Utah’s law promoted the state’s interest in “responsible procreation” and the “optimal mode of child-rearing.” The lawsuit was brought by three gay and lesbian couples in Utah.

More analysis — the judge used Antonin Scalia’s past work to buttress his opinion, available here along with full ruling.

UPDATE: They’re issuing licenses in Utah.


* BIG BUCKS: Thanks to reader TMI for contributing to a discussion on the University of Arkansas  a link to the 700-plus-page report on the public college and university administrators in Arkansas who made $100,000 or more in 2012.

* WILD BLUE YONDER: No Arkansas angle here but what a wild tale — the high-ranking Air Force general who went on a drunken escapade to Russia.


* IN OTHER NEWS: Some items of interest at Channel 4: A blind man was struck by a hit-and-run driver while trying to cross Rodney Parham at Markham Street. At the legislature, Tea Party lawmakers couldn’t stop spending of federal money to implement health insurance exchanges in Arkansas. A Benton couple have been charged in a kidnapping attempt for taking a child from a house in what has been described as part of a custody dispute.