SFGN News Bites for January 29, 2014

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Collins invited to SOTU speech

Openly gay NBA player, Jason Collins, is among the guests who will sit with first lady Michelle Obama Tuesday when President Barack Obama delivers the annual State of the Union address.

The first lady’s guests are often chosen because they symbolize an issue or policy the president is promoting. In April last year, 35-year-old Collins became the first active male athlete on a major American sports team to come out as openly gay. Collins played 12 years in the NBA, going to the playoffs nine times and making the league finals twice.

The president has said Collins’ announcement marked a point of progress for the gay community.

Indiana House split on Gay Marriage

A poll of the 100 members of the Indiana House shows 38 plan to vote for a proposed constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage and 38 plan to vote against it, a newspaper report said Sunday.

Thirteen other representatives were undecided how they would vote on the measure and 11 refused to answer the poll, done by The Indianapolis Star.

The numbers reveal how support has dwindled for the proposed amendment, which the House approved 70-26 in 2011.

The measure needs 51 votes to win approval in the Republican-led House. If it clears both the House and the Indiana Senate, it will go before Indiana voters in November.

Liberace lover sentenced

A former lover of Liberace who was the subject of an HBO film on the pianist’s life has been sentenced to eight to 20 years in a Nevada prison for failing another court-ordered drug test while on probation for burglary and identity theft convictions.

Washoe District Judge Patrick Flanagan sentenced Scott Thorson, 54, whose real name is Jess Marlow, after a string of bad drug tests capped by his failure to show up at a court-ordered treatment facility.

Flanagan originally suspended the prison sentence in July and gave Thorson a second chance in September after testing positive for methamphetamine, but he failed tests twice in October and again on Nov. 1.

Alaska Senate Leader: Gay Marriage inevitable

Senate Minority Leader Hollis French said the legalization of same-sex marriage across the country seems inevitable.

"If you can't see it coming, your eyes are closed," he said.

Over the last year, the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that prevented legally married same-sex couples from receiving a range of federal benefits. States like Hawaii and Illinois legalized same-sex marriage, and state constitutional bans in Utah and Oklahoma have been struck down by federal courts, though appeals are pending or expected.

Alaska voters in 1998 approved a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between a man and a woman.

Aiken Prepping Congressional Run

Sources close to the pop singer ClayAiken confirm he is close to announcing a run for U.S. Congress. Aiken, a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, is considering running as a Democrat in the state’s second congressional district, reports Towleroad.com.

Aiken, 35, is best known for starring on the second season of the popular television show, “American Idol.” He has since released several albums for RCA Records. An official announcement concerning the singer’s political ambitions is scheduled for next month.

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