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Plaintiffs in Oklahoma and Virginia Gay Marriage Cases Ask Supreme Court to Weigh In

Earlier this week, we reported that  plaintiffs in the case challenging Utah's ban on same-sex marriage have filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to finally weigh in on the question of whether all citizens have a fundamental right to marry. 

ScotusNow, the plaintiffs challenging gay marriage bans in Oklahoma and Virginia have similarly followed suit and asked the highest court in the land to review their cases as well, The Advocate reports:

When the justices return from vacation in late September, they'll likely find unanimous agreement from all parties that they should consider a marriage equality case. But which cases the court will pick remains in question.

It's worth noting that the cases would have reached the Supreme Court even if the plaintiffs hadn't filed their petitions. The defendants in the cases — attorneys representing the states — have filed petitions as well.

Previously, the same-sex couples serving as plaintiffs in all three states won major victories at the district court and appellate level. UtahOklahoma, and Virginia all enjoyed an unbroken string of victories for the freedom to marry. Ordinarily, the victorious side would oppose a rehearing, as it runs the risk of overturning the decision. But the motivation behind the plaintiffs' briefs boils down to their desire to expand their victories nationwide.

The court has the option of taking up one case, multiple cases, or none at all and could defer a decision until next June. 

Posted Aug. 30,2014 at 5:00 PM EST by in Gay Marriage, Oklahoma, Supreme Court, Utah, Virginia | Permalink | Comments (2)

Michael Sam Fails to Make St. Louis Rams Final Cut


Early reports are coming in that Michael Sam has failed to make the St. Louis Rams' final cut and will not be on the team's 53-man roster.  

Sam was widely seen to be competing for the ninth spot on the defensive line with fellow rookie Ethan Westbrooks.

Tweeted Sam:

Outsports reports that Sam will be available to the other 31 teams for 24 hours.

If he gets claimed, he will have a spot on the roster of that team. If he is not claimed, he can be added to the Rams' 10-man practice squad. This means he can practice with the team but not play, and his salary would be much less than the $440,000 he would get for making the roster; practice players are guaranteed a minimum salary of $6,300 per week for the 17-week season.

All throughout the preseason, Sam had been demonstrating his prowess on the field as defensive end - including an impressive sack of Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel ("Johnny Football") during last week match-up. 

Earlier this week, Rams' head coach Jeff Fisher praised Sams' performance, saying "I believe he can play in this league"

[photo via Instagram]

Posted Aug. 30,2014 at 4:10 PM EST by in Michael Sam, NFL | Permalink | Comments (43)

Towletech v.121: Game of Thrones VFX, Mars Rocket, Google Cars, 3D-Printed Castles, Apple iWatch



A weekly round-up of the best tech, science, and geek-related news from around the web.

Road A new Jurassic Park set photo reveals a tribute statue for John Hammond - the park's eccentric founder played by actor Lord Richard Attenborough who passed away Monday at the age of 90.

Road 'Spiral of silence' - Facebook users are shying away from discussing hot-button political/social issues out of fear that others will disagree.

Road Even video game characters are taking the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Road If you're as big of a Game of Thrones nerd as me, you'll love this behind the scenes video of how the show's Emmy-award winning visual effects come to life. 

Road NASA sets a 2018 launch date for the rocket that will eventually take us to Mars.

ComicRoad The GOP has a retro-style new video game that helps teach you why it's so important for them to retake the Senate in this year's midterm elections.

Road The world's most expensive Superman comic just sold for $3.2 million on eBay. 

Road A Shutter Island TV series is being developed by HBO. 

Road Amazon to buy livestreaming video platform site Twitch for nearly $1 billion. 

Road Reports are hinting that Apple's iWatch may be coming to stores early 2015. 

Road How virtual reality could lead to an explosion in "immersive journalism" content: 

Road Star Wars' new, streamlined canon has offically begun with the release of the new book Star Wars: A New Dawn

Road Avoiding potholes, navigating through rain and four other simple things that Google's self-driving cars still can't handle

CastleRoad Engineer builds gorgeous 3D-printed castle in his backyard garden. No word yet on any dragon sightings. 

Road Liam Neeson wants to reprise his Batman Begins role as Ra's Al Ghul on the Arrow TV series.  

Road Check out the incredible hi-resolution imagery coming soon to Google Maps. 

Road Smartphone "kill switch" becomes law in California. 

Road Nintendo has a new 3DS handheld coming to Japan. 

Road Apparently Thor, the God of Thunder, has found himself working for Amazon's customer support line during his down time between films. 

Posted Aug. 30,2014 at 3:00 PM EST by in Future Tech, Tech, TowleTech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mourners Pay Respect to Slain LGBT Advocate Kelly Phillips While Murder Suspect Remains at Large: VIDEO

(image facebook)

Hundreds of mourners turned out on Thursday for Kelly Phillips, a Minneapolis executive and activist who was gunned down at a gas station by a still-at-large suspect believed to be his former lover and business partner Ty Hoffman, the Star Tribune reports:

Thursday evening, the service at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Minneapolis included elected and corporate leaders, such as the chief compliance officer from Boston Scientific, where Phillips was also active in an employees’ group that promoted equality.

U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., and Richard Carlbom, chair of Minnesotans United’s campaign for gay marriage equality, delivered eulogies that spoke of Phillips’ political activism, social work and charitable contributions.

He was long an activist for the LGBT community.

KMSP adds: Ty_hoffman

Phillips and his fiancé planned to marry on Saturday. Instead, a nationwide manhunt is underway. It's been two and a half weeks since the Twin Cities businessman who co-founded Lush Food Bar was gunned down at a gas station by his former boyfriend and business partner, Ty Hoffman. During the ceremony, Thunder Bay police momentarily thought they'd be able to answer the prayers of those hoping for Hoffman's arrest; however, they later confirmed that Hoffman had not been found. Currently, there is a $25,000 reward for information that leads to his arrest and conviction. He is believed to be armed and dangerous, and anyone who sees him is urged to call 911.

Watch KSTP's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Posted Aug. 30,2014 at 2:00 PM EST by in Crime, Minneapolis, Minnesota, News | Permalink | Comments (8)

Gay Couples React to Bizarre Anti-gay Marriage Ads: WATCH


Remember those hilariously awful anti-gay marriage ads a few years back? The ones that tried to paint a ominous future for America should we (God forbid!) allow gay couples the same rights as heterosexual couples?

Well YouTube user Michael Rizzi has dug up some of those absurd ads and asked gay couples to watch and react. The results, as you can probably image, are quite entertaining. 

"I hurt for your privilege"




Posted Aug. 30,2014 at 1:00 PM EST by | Permalink | Comments (12)

Gay Iconography: Diana Ross Is A Supreme Icon


Way before Beyoncé could even dream of slaying the MTV Video Music Awards, another female entertainer had risen to super-stardom from a successful singing trio. When Diana Ross had her first number one single with the Supremes, Bey was still about 17 years from even being born.

Diana Ross and the Supremes are one of the most successful groups from Motown Records. Their polished, feminine act helped make them crossover stars, including becoming the first all-female group to have an album top the Billboard Top 200. In addition to her success with the Supremes, she's also a successful solo artist, as well as an Academy Award-nominated actress. She's one of the few people to have two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; one for herself and one as part of the Supremes.

Diana's disco-flavored solo career enshrined her as a gay icon, but she received some pushback for a less than enthusiastic response about gay marriage to The Advocate in 1999: "I just don't think I can speak about this particular issue [gay marriage] because I haven't really given it enough thoughts. It seems like girls, guys, whatever, should be able to live together without a legal contract." This soft answer aside, her music is a staple of pride celebrations across the country and woven into the fabric of gay culture.

Let's revisit some of the ultimate diva's musical high points, AFTER THE JUMP ...

As a member of the Supremes, Diana Ross helped define the 1960s Motown sound. With a string of 10 number-one hits (including "Where Did Our Love Go?" "Baby Love," and "Stop! In the Name of Love")  The Supremes produced some of the most memorable songs of all time. They helped cross racial barriers, pioneering mainstream success for black artists, and setting a new standard of glitz and glamour with their gorgeous gowns. “I think because we were so glamorous that it automatically was a great attraction for the gay community," original Supreme Mary Wilson told GayStarNews earlier this year. "They were the ones who were there at the door first.”


Ms. Ross' second solo single in 1980, "I'm Coming Out," peaked at No. 5 on the pop singles chart. Nile Rodgers got the idea for the song after seeing drag queens dressed up as Diana. It was a bold move to release such a flamboyantly disco song in 1980, as Rodgers explained to Billboard Magazine: "You have to put this stuff in context. Now it just sounds like a pop song. This was the summer of disco sucks. When that happened it was because they hated gay people, they hated black people and women. Look at the pictures of who was there at that disco sucks thing. There ain't a gay person in that baseball stadium, there ain't a black person there and it was a sellout, 70,000 people." Now, the song is widely recognized as a gay anthem, but it also could be interpreted as Diana coming out from her Motown background.


Fans -- gay, straight, black, white and otherwise -- came together for a legendary concert featuring Diana Ross in Central Park. Performing through torrential downpours, the charity event was eventually shutdown due to weather. Diana famously promised to return the next day, spending the original proceeds on the second show, and eventually leading to Diana donating her own money to build the Diana Ross Playground in Central Park.


She definitely wasn't discouraging her gay following with her 1982 single, "Muscles," written by Michael Jackson. A straightforward ode to the male physique, it's the steamy soul song equivalent of a Grindr profile. Fun fact: The video featured a young Gil Birmingham (Twilight's Billy Black).


Diana Ross has been an inspiration for many subsequent performers. Her glamour, style and talents have influenced artists like Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Mary J. Blige and Rihanna. One notable star who has spoken extensively about Ms. Ross' impact is RuPaul. The legendary diva appeared on The RuPaul Show, and Ru co-starred in Diana's video for her cover of "I Will Survive" (above).

That's just a taste of Diana Ross' career (let's not forget films like Mahogany, Lady Sings The Blues, and The Wiz). Share your favorite Diana Ross highlights in the comments.

Posted Aug. 30,2014 at 12:00 PM EST by in Diana Ross, Gay Iconography | Permalink | Comments (28)


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