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Alaskan Seaplane Has a Close Encounter With a Surfacing Whale: VIDEO

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In the remote town of Angoon, Alaska, Thomas Hamm shot this impressive footage of a seaplane coming this close to landing on top of a whale.

Luckily, the pilot was able to pull up at the last second and avoid collision, but not before the whale surfaced and cleared its blowhole – drenching the plane’s windshield.

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Alaska Files Brief Arguing That 'as a Sovereign State' It Has Right to 'Define and Regulate Marriage'

In an official brief in the May 12 lawsuit Hamby v Parnell filed in the U.S. District Court in Anchorage, Alaska has stated that the five plaintiff couples have had none of their constitutional rights violated and therefore no legal justification for their goal.

AlaskaAlaska’s Department of Law, arguing on behalf of Gov. Sean Parnell, claim that the lawsuit raises a political question rather than a legal one and that under the amendment “Alaska has the right as a sovereign state to define and regulate marriage.”

In 1998, Alaskan voters passed a constitutional amendment to define marriage as existing only between one man and one woman. Plaintiffs in the May 12 challenge argued that the amendment clashes with a guarantee of due process and equal protection provided by the U.S. Constitution.

The lawsuit aims to have out-of-state same-sex marriages recognized in Alaska and to provide for same-sex marriage in the state.

Plaintiff Matthew Hamby argue that he and and his husband took a stand because “it's important to us that our family is recognized by the State of Alaska and that we have the same rights and privileges as others."


Here's What It's Like When a Massive Bear Comes to Hang Out With You: VIDEO

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Drew Hamilton, a tech worker at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, recently shared an incredibly close encounter with an Alaskan Brown Bear at the McNeil River State Game Sanctuary.

The area is well-known as the world's largest gathering place of brown bears (there is even a webcam from which you can view it at certain times of the year), however, Hamilton probably wasn't counting on getting this close to one, even if his stomach may have already been stuffed with fish.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Hamilton's bear does seem a lot less hungry than this bear or this bear.

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Alaska Thunderf*ck's Music Video For 'Your Makeup Is Terrible' Is A Feast For The Eyes: WATCH

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Remember "Red for Filth," the fragrance from RuPaul's Drag Race season five finalist Alaska Thunderf*ck? The hilarious commercial made an impression, and RuPaul laughed harder at one line than any other: a foxy Alaska looks stunned as a member of the pit crew whispers in her ear, "Your makeup is terrible!"

Clearly Alaska decided to capitalize on a good thing, and now we've got a wacky, wild, and stunning music video for a song of the same name. Watch as the queen appears both in and out of drag, with incredible makeup designs that no one would dare read (for filth). 

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Wednesday Speed Read: Virginia, Idaho, Equality Act of '74, Matt Foreman, ENDA, Alaska

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

NiemeyerFOURTH CIRCUIT SLUGFEST:

Oral arguments Tuesday before the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals over Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage suggest the vote will almost certainly be 2 to 1 vote. The only question is which way it will go. Sharp comments and fierce questioning by two of the three judges left little room for doubt on how their votes will split. Republican appointee Paul Niemeyer, 73, said allowing gays to marry could set the stage for a man to marry “six wives or his daughter.” He suggested same-sex couples could have a “parallel” type relationship “with less attributes.” Democratic appointee Judge Roger Gregory, 62, derided arguments by attorneys who said marriage laws are for heterosexual couples to “protect the children.” Gregory said that sounded like a “totalitarian system where people are baby makers and you get married for the interest of the state.” Full story tomorrow.

DaleTHE ‘SLOW’ MARCH IN IDAHO:

Just eight days after hearing arguments, a U.S. magistrate judge on Tuesday struck down Idaho’s ban on same-sex marriage and ordered the state begin issuing licenses Friday. Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale’s 57-page memorandum order in Latta v. Otter, a case brought by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, says the ban on same-sex couple marrying violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees to equal protection and due process.  “Slow as the march toward equality may seem, it is never in vain,” wrote Dale, who said the state offered “no evidence that same-sex marriage would adversely affect opposite-sex marriages or the well-being of children.” The ruling made Idaho the 11th state this year to see its ban on same-sex marriage struck down. All are under appeal. In anticipation of Dale’s decision, Idaho’s Republican Governor Butch Otter filed a motion requesting a stay pending appeal.

SPEAKING OF THE ‘SLOW’ MARCH:

It was 40 years ago today that U.S. Reps. Bella Abzug and Ed Koch (D-NY) introduced the “Equality Act of 1974,” the first version of what is now the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). The Equality Act was a much broader piece of legislation, seeking to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Over the years, the bill was trimmed and rewritten. Today’s version seeks to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity but only in employment with businesses of 15 employees or more and with exemptions for religious organizations. The bill passed the Senate last November for the first time in its 40-year history; but House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has vowed it will not get a vote in the House under his leadership.

ForemanPULL THE PLUG ON ENDA?

Former National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman urged LGBT leaders to “pull the plug” on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), saying it is an “essentially lifeless corpse.”

COUPLES SUE IN ALASKA:

Five same-sex couples filed suit in federal court Monday to challenge Alaska’s ban on same-sex marriage. That now leaves only three states with bans that have not yet been challenged in court: North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana.

LAMBDA AT ALASKA SUPREME COURT:

Lambda Legal argued a case before the Alaska Supreme Court Tuesday that could strike down that state’s ban on same-sex marriages. In Harris v. Millennium Hotel, Lambda argued that the state law barring same-sex couples the right to marry prevented Deborah Harris from qualifying for a survivors’ benefit paid through the state’s Workers Compensation Act to spouses of employees killed at work. Harris and Kerry Fadely were in a relationship for 10 years before Fadely was shot to death at work by a recently fired employee.

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Five Couples File Suit Challenging Alaska's Gay Marriage Ban

Five couples have filed suit challenging Alaska's ban on gay marriage, the Alaska Dispatch reports:

AlaskaThe lawsuit, Hamby v. Parnell, filed on behalf of Anchorage resident Matthew Hamby, his partner, and four other couples, is considered the first challenge of the Alaska constitutional amendment since courts around the nation have started to strike down marriage bans, according to attorney Caitlin Shortell.

Shortell is one of three attorneys representing the plaintiffs. The lawsuit challenges the Alaska constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, arguing that it violates the couples' due process and equal protection under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Alaska voters approved a constitutional amendment in 1998 that said marriage could only exist between a man and woman.

...Allison Mendel, who is also representing the plaintiffs, said there was no way she could not get involved with a suit like this. She ran the opposition campaign to the constitutional amendment in 1998 and has brought multiple suits on behalf of same-sex couples over the years.

She expects the state to defend the ban, though the attorneys are committed through the entire process.

The suit was filed in Anchorage, the AP reports:

The plaintiffs are Matthew Hamby and Christopher Shelden; Christina LaBorde and Susan Tow; Sean Egan and David Robinson; Tracey Wiese and Katrina Cortez; and Courtney Lamb and Stephanie Pearson. Lamb and Pearson are unmarried.

Hamby, in a statement, said he and his husband — who, according to the lawsuit were married in Canada in 2008 and renewed their vows in Utah last year — are taking a stand "because marriage should be available to all loving couples. It's important to us that our family is recognized by the State of Alaska and that we have the same rights and privileges as others."


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