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News Wrap: Court upholds ban on gay marriage in four states

In our news wrap Thursday, a federal appeals court upheld a ban on same-sex marriage in Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee. That decision makes it more likely that the issue will return to the Supreme Court. Also, The Wall Street Journal reported that President Obama had written a secret letter to Iran’s supreme leader concerning the fight against Islamic State militants.

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  • GWEN IFILL:

    Republicans who will run the next Congress talked up their to-do list today. House Speaker John Boehner said it will include a new attempt to repeal the president's health care law, but, if that fails, they will target individual items, including a medical device tax.

    REP. JOHN BOEHNER, Speaker of the House: Listen, there are bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate to take some of these issues out of Obamacare. We need to put them on the president's desk and let him choose.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    We will have more on today's events, and another look at what's behind the election results, after the news summary.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The issue of gay marriage may be headed back to the Supreme Court after all. A federal appeals court in Cincinnati today upheld bans on same-sex unions in four states, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee. That conflicts with rulings by other appeals panels, making it more likely the high court will have to issue a definitive decision.

    There's word today that President Obama wrote last month to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, about the fight against Islamic State militants. The Wall Street Journal is reporting the letter described Iran's shared interest in battling the militants in Iraq and Syria. The White House declined to discuss the correspondence, except to say again there will be no military cooperation with Iran.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried today to quell a conflict around Jerusalem's holiest site. It's known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. There's new unrest as Jewish activists demand greater access.

    But, today, Netanyahu said he telephoned the king of Jordan, who technically has custody of the site.

  • BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, Prime Minister, Israel:

    I explained to him that we're keeping status quo on the Temple Mount, and that this includes Jordan's traditional role there, as consistent with the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan. We have to make every effort to restore calm, quiet and security.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    The tensions over the site have led to clashes there and elsewhere. There have also been several incidents of Palestinians driving vehicles into groups of Israelis in Jerusalem.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Libya's high court handed Islamist militants a victory today and deepened that country's political turmoil. The court declared that elections held in June were unconstitutional. It said the new parliament and government that's been fighting the Islamists should be dissolved. The ruling was handed down in Tripoli, where the militants are in control.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    One of the longest-held terror detainees at Guantanamo Bay is back in his home country. Fawzi al-Odah arrived in Kuwait early today. He'd been at Guantanamo since 2002. Last July, a review found al-Odah may have fought against the U.S. in Afghanistan, but he had only low-level training and wasn't in a leadership position; 148 prisoners remain at Guantanamo.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    A retired Navy SEAL has come forward to say he fired the shot that killed Osama bin Laden. Robert O'Neill told The Washington Post he spoke out because his identity was being leaked anyway. O'Neill acknowledges at least two other seals also fired shots during the raid at bin Laden's Pakistan home in May 2011.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    A close adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin is now the target of a U.S. investigation involving money laundering. The Wall Street Journal reports Russian billionaire Gennady Timchenko is suspected of using the American financial system to wash money from corrupt deals in Russia. The Kremlin today condemned news of the federal investigation. A spokesman charged it's really targeted at Putin himself.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The Los Angeles County Museum of Art announced today that it's received its largest gift of art today, half-a-billion dollars' worth. Jerry Perenchio, the former movie producer and CEO of the Spanish-language network Univision, pledged to donate 47 pieces. They include masterworks by Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, and Edgar Degas, among others. The bequest will take place after the aging billionaire's death.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    A Union Army officer who served in the Civil War has finally received the Medal of Honor 151 years after he died at Gettysburg. President Obama today honored 1st the Alonzo "Lon" Cushing of Wisconsin. In July 1863, he commanded a small force that helped break the Confederate assault known as Pickett's Charge. Cushing was wounded repeatedly, but refused to leave the battle.

  • PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

    Lon ordered his men to continue firing at the advancing columns. He used his own thumb to stop his gun's vent, burning his fingers to the bone. When he was hit the final time, as a poet later wrote, his gun spoke out for him once more before he fell to the ground. And Alonzo Cushing was just 22 years old.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    The account of Cushing's bravery was lost in the chaos after the battle. More than a century later, a historian in Wisconsin rediscovered his story, but it took years of research and letters before Congress awarded the medal.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    On Wall Street today, upbeat economic reports helped lift the Dow and the S&P to record highs. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 70 points to close at 17,554; the Nasdaq rose more than 17 points to close at 4,638; and the S&P 500 added seven to close at 2,031.

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