North Dakota Hub

Media Mogul David Geffen's 21-Year-old College Football Player Ex-Boyfriend Admits to Stalking Charge


Jamie Ralph Kuntz, a former North Dakota college football player, has been given probation for stalking his Hollywood mogul ex-boyfriend David Geffen, the Associated Press reports.

Kuntz pleaded no contest to charges of felony stalking and violating a restraining order to stay away from Geffen’s California homes.

According to defense lawyer David Wohl, although Kuntz - who had been in a short-term relationship with Geffen - would have won had the case gone to trial, he did not want to spend any more time in jail having served three months because he could not afford $150,000 bail.

Wohl added that the outcome is “celebrity justice in reverse” because “the victim is a celebrity, and judges are afraid of something happening to them."

Kuntz has been ordered to attend psychiatric counseling twice a week for 12 months as a condition of his two-year probation term.

In 2012, Kuntz was kicked off his college football team for being gay.

North Dakota's GOP Led Senate Narrowly Passes LGBT Anti-Discrimination Protections

NdAfter a 25-22 vote, the North Dakota Senate has approved legislation that will provide increased protections for its growing LGBT population. Going forward organizations will no longer being able to refuse people service, housing access, or job opportunities merely because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

Earlier this year the Senate Judiciary Committee urged the voting body not to pass the bill, and in its current form the bill still provides exceptions for religious organizations.

Though the bill is a major win for North Dakota’s queer population, there were dissenting voices who were skeptical as to whether its passage was necessary. Many of the bill’s proponents argued that the new protections were a natural outgrowth of the Civil Rights Act of 1961. Senator David Hogue (R-Minot), the committee chairman flat out disagreed with that assertion.

“We really did not see a problem – at least the problem was never defined to us in terms of either explicit discrimination or even implicit discrimination,” said Houge. “We didn’t have witnesses come forward to say that they were discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation, either by the government or by the private sector.”

The bill now heads to the House, which includes 71 Republicans and 23 Democrats. 

A Gay Scene Is Slowly Forming In North Dakota's Oil Patch

Screen shot 2015-02-01 at 7.08.10 PM

The above image is an actual Craigslist ad for "Men Seeking Men" in Williston, North Dakota. 

As one might expect, Craigslist and Grindr are among the few ways for gay men to meet in the state's booming oil patch — the Bakken shale formation. drills down into the region's gay scene, beginning with the author's first-person account of a rendezvous with a roughneck: 

My one and only liaison in the oil fields of western North Dakota was with a 23-year-old truck driver. Like most such encounters in the oil patch, ours originated on Grindr, the mobile hookup app for gay, bisexual, and curious men. He sent me a photo, and we traded some biographical details. A few hours later, he was in my room at the Williston Super 8.

After our rendezvous, as the November night air dipped below ten degrees, we took shelter in his car to smoke cigarettes. I was only going to be in the state for 48 more hours, but we made tentative plans to go shooting the next day. I was less interested in exercising my Second Amendment rights for the first time than in extending our easy fling. He just needed to see whether he could get off work that day—no small task for someone accustomed to 16-hour shifts, six days a week.

Because they work such long hours, most gays in the oil patch have little time for romance, the story explains. The closest gay bar is in Winnipeg, Canada, a seven-hour drive, and workers risk harassment or losing their jobs if they come out — since few of the companies doing business there have LGBT protections: 

At Outlaws' Bar & Grill, a steakhouse in Williston, I met Jim, a 52-year-old twice-divorced Wisconsin native with two sons. Jim used to run his own advertising business, but it fell apart in the 2008 recession. After struggling to pay off his debt, he decided to move to North Dakota to take a job in what's euphemistically called saltwater disposal, the process of pumping water-like fracking waste deep underground.

"I'm pretty much in the closet," Jim told me. "I just don't want to have to deal with all that comes with it—you know, with all the questions. I think, for me, it's all about meeting Mr. Right. If I met Mr. Right, then I'd be more open." ...

During the day, Jim often cruises Grindr, looking for other "masculine" types. There's no shortage of them: the guys who sport beards and tattoos—some heavy-set, some more fit—and self-identify with the app's "rugged" tribe or insist on "masc only." Other than scouring social apps—and if you can't bear the small talk, there's always Craigslist—there aren't a whole lot of ways for Jim to meet Mr. Right.

But even in the oil patch, which may be among the last professional frontiers of gay acceptance, things are slowly changing, Vice reports. Minot, on the eastern edge of the patch, has a Pride group as well as bars with large gay clienteles, and signs of queer life are even starting to bubble up in the heart of the shale:  

There is something of a growing community in Williston at the center of the oil industry as well. Jon Kelly throws occasional house parties for his queer friends. The gatherings are small, but Kelly sees them as evidence of broader progress.

"There are the beginnings of a scene here," Kelly said. "Over the last few years, more and more people are willing to be open about it."

Read Vice's full piece here

Federal Judge Halts Challenge To North Dakota Same-Sex Marriage Ban Until SCOTUS Rules

A lawsuit challenging North Dakota's ban on same-sex marriage has been put on hold by a federal judge until the Supreme Court rules on whether there exists a constitutional right to marry. The AP reports:

NdU.S. District Chief Judge Ralph Erickson filed an order Tuesday staying the case brought by seven same-sex couples in June. The lawsuit challenges both North Dakota's ban on gay marriage and its refusal to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who legally wed in other states.

Last week the Supreme Court announced that it will decide whether same-sex couples have a right to marry everywhere in America under the Constitution.

If you haven't already done so, check out our legal editor Ari Ezra Waldman's analysis of the Supreme Court's decision to take up the four cases challenging bans on same-sex marriage in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee HERE.

Lawyer Requests Summary Judgment in Case Challenging North Dakota's Gay Marriage Ban

Joshua Newville, the lawyer representing seven gay couples in a challenge to North Dakota's gay marriage ban has filed a motion for summary judgment in the case, the AP reports:

NewvilleIn June, Newville filed the federal lawsuit, which challenges a voter-approved 2004 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage that passed with more than 73 percent of the vote. It claims it violates protections found in the U.S. Constitution, including the 14th Amendment's guarantees of equal protection and due process.

In the memorandum, Newville argues that the plaintiffs are entitled to summary judgment on their constitutional claims.

Newville is also representing plaintiffs in a challenge to South Dakota's gay marriage ban and filed a motion for summary judgment in that case earlier this month.

North Dakota Officials File Motion To Dismiss Gay Marriage Lawsuit

The motion to dismiss the challenge to that state's ban on gay marriage (filed last month) was introduced late Tuesday by the state attorney general's office.

BahrNorth Dakota Solicitor General Doug Bahr wrote in his 50-page proposal:

"Nothing in the United States Constitution prevents the people of North Dakota from defining marriage as the legal union between a man and a woman...The people of North Dakota, through the deliberative political process, retain the traditional understanding of marriage as the union between a man and a woman....The fact North Dakota's marriage laws are different from the marriage laws of some other states does not establish a viable claim that the challenged provisions violate the right to interstate travel."

Additionally, according to Forum News ServiceBahr argues the state needs more data on gay marriage before it considers making it legal.

"No society has yet had a generation's worth of experience permitting same-sex marriage. Other states' experience with same-sex marriage could provide valuable practical data about the effects of same-sex marriage," Bahr wrote. "North Dakota could rationally decide to wait until it obtains more information about the effects of same-sex marriage before deciding to permit it in North Dakota."


Towleroad - Blogged