The Good News:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In a much-anticipated ruling issued Thursday, the California Supreme Court struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional.\
California's Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.
Several gay and lesbian couples, along with the city of San Francisco and gay rights groups, sued to overturn state laws allowing only marriages between a man and a woman.
"There can be no doubt that extending the designation of marriage to same-sex couples, rather than denying it to all couples, is the equal protection remedy that is most consistent with our state's general legislative policy and preference," said the 120-page ruling.
It said that the state law's language "limiting the designation of marriage to a 'union between a man and a woman' is unconstitutional, and that the remaining statutory language must be understood as making the designation of marriage available to both opposite-sex and same-sex couples."
With the ruling, California becomes the second state to allow same-sex couples to legally wed. Massachusetts adopted the practice in 2004, and couples don't need to be state residents to wed there.
Vermont, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Connecticut permit civil unions, while California has a domestic-partner registration law. More than a dozen other states give gay couples some legal rights.
Seven other jurisdictions around the world have legalized same-sex marriage: Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, South Africa and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec.
The Bad News
COLUMBUS, Ohio (CNN) -- Sen. John McCain envisions that by 2013, the Iraq War will be won but the threat from the Taliban in Afghanistan won't yet be eliminated, even though Osama bin Laden will have been captured or killed.
Sen. John McCain envisions his first-term achievements during a speech in Columbus, Ohio, Thursday.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee made both statements in a speech in which he envisions the state of affairs at the end of his first term if he is elected president.
"What I want to do today is take a little time to describe what I would hope to have achieved at the end of my first term as president. I cannot guarantee I will have achieved these things," McCain said in his speech in Columbus, Ohio.
McCain's speech was unusual -- and somewhat risky -- in that it lays out benchmarks on which he could be judged.
The Arizona senator said he believes the United States will have a smaller military presence in Iraq that will not play a direct combat role, and he predicts that al Qaeda in Iraq will be defeated. Watch McCain say most troops will be home from Iraq by 2013 »
"By January 2013, America has welcomed home most of the servicemen and women who have sacrificed terribly so that America might be secure in her freedom.
"The Iraq War has been won. Iraq is a functioning democracy, although still suffering from the lingering effects of decades of tyranny and centuries of sectarian tension," McCain said.
The violence in Iraq will persist, the candidate believes, but it will be "spasmodic and much reduced." But civil war will be prevented, armed militias will be disbanded, security forces will become "professional and competent" and the government will be able to impose "its authority in every province of Iraq" and properly defend its borders.