Say Goodbye to Key Cards, Hilton Worldwide to Replace Room Keys with Smartphones

July 29th, 2014 Joseph Pedro
Image via Passport

Image via Passport

Misplaced key cards will be a thing of the past soon for guests staying at one of Hilton Worldwide’s hotels, as the company has announced that key cards are going the way of the metal key. Hilton hopes to replace the credit card-style keys with smartphones. This will not be the only major upgrade. Using a special Hilton app, guests will also be able to not only check-in on their phones, but also select which room they want using a digital floor plan—this technology will be rolled out in over 4,000 hotels by the end of the year. Technology for smart phone key cards are expected to be installed by 2015. We have spent the past few years testing a number of different options to make this vision a reality, and we are developing proprietary technology that is safe and reliable for our guests to use, and cost-effective for our hotels to install,” says Christopher J. Nassetta, president and chief executive officer of Hilton Worldwide.

Now let’s hope smartphone makers can figure out how to make their batteries last for more than four hours, or Hilton Hotels’ lobbies are going to look like an airport waiting area.

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‘The Bridge’ ‘Breaking Bad’ Star Emily Rios Comes Out

July 29th, 2014 Joseph Pedro
Imag via FX's 'The Bridge' Facebook.

Imag via FX’s ‘The Bridge’ Facebook.

She may play a lesbian on the hit FX drama, The Bridge, but star Emily Rios has never publicly commented on her sexuality, until now. The star, who is also known for playing Andrew Cantillo on Breaking Bad, said last week about her role playing a reporter investigated a murderer along the Mexican-American boarder: “‘I’m gay, personally, so being Mexican and a lesbian – this is why I love the character because I deal with the same type of things with my own family.”

 

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Gay Travel: What’s New in Gran Canaria

July 29th, 2014 Joseph Pedro
Image via Passport

Image via Passport

vacation mecca off the sun-scorched coast of Africa, Gran Canaria is favored by gay and straight tourists looking for a budget break in the sun, but this Spanish island is steadily becoming more sleek and seductive with new five-star resorts, international restaurants, private gay yacht charters, and other fancy ambitions.

Located in the Atlantic Ocean, 1,800 miles south of mainland Spain, Gran Canaria and the other six Canary Islands are located outside the European tax zone, meaning goods such as alcohol, tobacco, perfumes, and electronics are generally cheaper here than in mainland Europe. The third largest of these islands, Gran Canaria has year-round sunshine, a popular gay nude beach, clothing-optional gay complexes, and dozens of gay bars in the twin resort areas of Playa del Ingles and Maspalomas. These factors altogether affirm Gran Canaria’s status as an affordable gay hotspot, attracting gay men and lesbians from places including the UK, Germany, and Scandinavia with the promise of cheap fun and sun.

Keep reading at Passport magazine online…

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St. Petersburg, Russia Holds Unpermitted Pride and Goes Off Without Violence

July 29th, 2014 Joseph Pedro
Image via QueerRussia

Image via QueerRussia

Despite the city denying the city of St. Petersburg, Russia from hosting a pride rally, nearly 150 people gathered anyway in a public park, and the more-political-than-celebratory pride went off without a hitch. Russian authorities jokingly told the organizers, Ravnopraviye (Equality), to hold the pride in a landfill. Despite not being allowed to use public spaces or march because of the federal anti-gay propaganda law, organizers held the rally. Websites reported that the day’s affairs went off without any major incident, and the area was even secured by local police. Only one person was detained throughout the day. According to QueerRussia: “One of the protesters, Eugene Pirozhkov, was holding a placard ‘Sodomy is sweeter than honey’ and was detained by police after refusing to roll the poster and so he was taken to the police bus. The poster graphics included some Christian symbols.”

 

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US Court Affirms Strike Down of Gay Marriage Ban in Virginia

July 28th, 2014 Joseph Pedro
Image via Passport

Image via Passport

The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit today affirmed a district court ruling striking down Virginia’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples. The decision will not take effect immediately, but will go into effect in 21 days, unless the defendants file a motion to stay the ruling. The ruling will also be stayed if the defendants ask the full court of appeals to review the case. The case, Bostic v. Schaefer, included a certified class made up of approximately 14,000 same-sex couples in the commonwealth.

In his opinion, Judge Henry F. Floyd wrote: “Civil marriage is one of the cornerstones of our way of life. It allows individuals to celebrate and publicly declare their intentions to form lifelong partnerships, which provide unparalleled intimacy, companionship, emotional support, and security. The choice of whether and whom to marry is an intensely personal decision that alters the course of an individual’s life. Denying same-sex couples this choice prohibits them from participating fully in our society, which is precisely the type of segregation that the Fourteenth Amendment cannot countenance.”

“The historic Supreme Court case that allowed for people of different races to marry, so providentially named Loving v. Virginia, started here,” said James Esseks, director of the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project, who argued the case for the class before the federal appeals court. “In the 47 years since, committed same-sex couples in the commonwealth have been patiently waiting for the freedom to marry the person they love. Today’s decision sends a message that everyone deserves the dignity and protection that only comes with marriage.”

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Enter to Win a Taste of Zurich: Five-Night Business-Class Trip to Zurich

July 28th, 2014 Joseph Pedro

Swiss Zurich Contest Entry Page Cover Photo

Did our latest Culinary Issue get your mouth watering for a taste of Switzerland?  Well, now’s your chance to enter our contest to win:

1) Two business-class ticket on Swiss International Air Lines to the city of Zürich.

2) Three gourmet meals by three acclaimed Swiss chefs

3) Five nights at Marriott Zürich

And it’s as easy as filling out THIS form. 

Want to enter more than once? Refer your friends to enter, and we’ll increase your odds.

 

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Gay Travel: World Eats, New York City

July 28th, 2014 Joseph Pedro
Beauty and Essex. Image via Passport

Beauty and Essex. Image via Passport

by Amy Nordrum and Joseph Pedro

No matter where you live, it’s worth visiting New York City at least once a year if only to be able to talk about the newest restaurants and hottest food trends from experience. It really makes no difference whether you long for New York street food or prefer to chase down Michelin stars. Though classic New York staples like bagels as big as your head and dollar-a-slice pizza are here to stay, much of the flavor of New York comes from the rotating cast of characters who are constantly reinventing the city’s cuisine. The choices here highlight some of the city’s most exciting and creative chefs, as well as the meticulously prepared dishes served by the world’s most venerable restaurateurs.

Keep reading over at Passport magazine online…

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Alaska Supreme Court Says Gay Couples Should Receive Death Benefits

July 28th, 2014 Joseph Pedro
Deobrah Harris (R) who sued for benefits. Image via Lambda

Deobrah Harris (R) who sued for benefits. Image via Lambda

Gay and lesbian couples must receive death benefits if their partner dies, despite the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled on Friday. According to the Reuters: “In ruling that a 1998 amendment to the state constitution forbidding same-sex marriage did not extend to barring death benefits for same-sex couples, the court overturned a decision by the Alaska Workers Compensation Board.” The case that decided the ruling involved an Anchorage woman who was denied benefits after her partner was shot by her employee at a hotel. The court said though that in denying the benefits the state “violates the surviving partner’s right to equal protection under the law.”

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Court Strikes Down Gay Marriage Ban (Again) in Florida

July 26th, 2014 Joseph Pedro
Image via Passport

Image via Passport

Today, a state trial court in Miami struck down Florida’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples, ordering Miami-Dade County to allow same-sex couples to marry. The court stayed the order pending appeal.  The couples argued that Florida’s ban on marriage equality cannot stand in light of the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in June 2013 that the federal “Defense of Marriage Act” violates the federal constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process. Every court to consider these federal constitutional claims since last summer’s Supreme Court decision has ruled in favor of the freedom to marry, including federal and state courts in Utah, Ohio, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kentucky, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

This decision comes two weeks after Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Luis Garcia issued a similar decision striking down  Florida’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples and ordering Monroe County to allow same-sex couples to marry. The Monroe County decision was appealed by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, which automatically stayed the decision while the appeal is pending. [NCLR]

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Cocktail Music: Eli Lieb’s ‘Zepplin’

July 25th, 2014 Joseph Pedro
Image via Eli Lieb

Image via Eli Lieb

More than doubling his YouTube view count in the past year to 20 million, openly gay singer/songwriter Eli Lieb has gained international attention for his self-filmed videos where he sings popular hits from the likes of Katy Perry, Adele, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, and, most recently, Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball.” Along with his covers, Lieb has written and recorded original songs. His self-titled debut album was released in the fall of 2011, and it received positive reviews for his honesty and raw emotions. This past summer, he released a new power-pop single, “Young Love,” that went viral for reasons beyond the music.

His new video, “Zepplin,” released last week, shows off the singer’s knack for creating poppy, while still emotional, songs. This one has us loving those hot summer nights driving around.

Check it out after the jump…

Read more…

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