News Briefs March/April 2014

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studentsBy Kim Hoffman, PQ Monthly
LOCAL Four Portland teenagers, Jenna Montgomery, Jess Taylor, Blue Kalmbach, and an unnamed 14-year-old suspect, were arrested last month after allegedly carving a swastika into schoolmate Dustin Murrain’s forehead. All attended David Douglas High School. Police suggest a possible motive was retaliation after Murrain was bullying their friend, calling him “gay†on Facebook. He was also allegedly attacked with a crowbar and a BB gun. The youngest teen will be tried in juvenile court; the other three await adult court with individual bails set at $3 million. On Tuesday, March 2, Catholic Oregonians for Marriage Equality pledged to “fast against discrimination and work to win marriage for same-sex couples during the season of Lent,†according to a press release.  For Ash Wednesday, members planned to wear violet—the liturgy color of Lent—and the hue us gays favor most. Much of this support comes on the heels of a February memo the Los Angeles Times reported on, in which Portland Archbishop Alexander K. Sample told his diocese staff that they should continue to “help defeat this initiative and to uphold the uniqueness and sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman.†Guess who wasn’t wearing violet for Ash Wednesday? On March 4, County Attorney Jenny Madkour announced that when the federal courts send over the green light to allow same-sex marriages in Oregon, the ban will lift and licenses will be issued (and champagne will fly off the shelves all over Portland proper). In 2004, Multnomah County was the only county in Oregon to grant same-sex marriage licenses. Imagine Glen Coco from “Mean Girls†getting all the candy canes at Christmas, but in our case, we’ll all be Glen Coco, and our marriage rights (and fabulous wedding receptions) will be better than any striped candy gift. NBA Brooklyn Nets center Jason Collins helped launch “Freedom Oregon†on Feb. 21 with the first group of Republicans in Oregon to support same-sex marriage. The commencement began the same day Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum (D) announced she will not be defending the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. #TeamEllen On Feb. 25, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that states are not obligated to defend discriminatory laws, specifically laws banning same-sex rights. (Good thing Oregon’s Ellen Rosenblum’s got that covered!) “We must be suspicious of legal classifications based solely on sexual orientation,†Holder said. Democratic Attorney Generals from six states and counting—including Oregon—have not supported the same-sex marriage bans challenged by same-sex couples in court. According to the Campus Pride Index, the University of Washington, Washington State, the University of Southern Oregon in Ashland, Portland State University, and the University of Oregon made this year’s list of America’s 25 most gay-and-lesbian friendly college campuses. Way to rep, PNW! Back in December, we reported on the Eastside Catholic High School Vice-Principal, Mark Zmuda, who lost his job after the school and church discovered he was married to his same-sex partner. On Friday, March 6, Zmuda filed a lawsuit against the school and the Seattle Archdiocese. The lawsuit charges the school and church with discrimination, wrongful termination and violation of the state consumer protection laws. The popular school figure received over 48,000 incredible signatures from a petition via DOBFor Dykes On Bikes® Portland, March 18 was a monumental day. The MC had all their patches sewn on their vests. The vest, or cut, is the “uniform†for any motorcycle club. The cut tells the world who your MC is—and where it’s from and who you are within that club.  DOB PDX is up to 9 patched members with many more prospects coming. NATIONAL We can all go home now—the Dalai Lama himself has declared same-sex marriage is totally okay. “If two people  really feel that way and both sides fully agree, then OK," he said on’s Larry King Now show. He also declared any anti-LGBTQ bullying “a violation of human rights.†Namaste, Dalai Lama. bathroom signOn Feb. 24, a measure backed by Privacy for All Students—an effort to block a law protecting transgender folks, AB 1266—failed to gather adequate signatures, rendering them unable to qualify for the November ballot. If the measure had passed, it would have repealed the law passed last year that allows transgender students to decide what facilities to use—such as the bathroom—based not on their biological sex, but their gender identity. Executive Director Masen Davis of the Transgender Law Center stated his relief for students who feared the referendum. On March 5, Arizona State Senator Steve Gallardo came out, stating, “I'm gay, I'm a Latino, and I'm a senator. And it’s okay." He called the discriminatory bill, also known as SB 1062, “a game changer†for him—Gallardo is a prime example of someone at the forefront stepping forward because they’re only concerned in doing what’s right—no ifs, ands, or politics about it. Remember when Pope Francis asked: “Who am I to judge?†Well, what would Pope Francis do now? According to Cardinal Timothy Dolan who spoke with “Meet the Press†on March 9, Francis wants church leaders to study same-sex marriages and “the reasons that have driven them.†Religious leaders are quick to point out this doesn’t mean he’s in support of same-sex marriage; however, it’s clear Francis is one hip holy man. Jan-Brewer-500x281After Arizona passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act last month; the Human Rights Campaign asked that other states considering similar measures put a stop to their own discrimination bills. Such bills are not only anti-LGBT, but are also anti-woman and anti-veteran. Since then, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) vetoed the legislation. The same bill is up for a vote in states like Mississippi and North Carolina. We are living in undeniably chaotic times—there aren’t enough School House Rocks videos for this. According to a new poll, 59 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage. (That’s six in 10!) Age plays an interesting factor in the poll: three-quarters of Americans under the age of 30 support same-sex marriage; less than half of seniors support same-sex marriage. These figures are record highs for the Washington Post-ABC News poll. How high? In its 2004 poll, 38 percent supported same-sex marriage, while 59 percent were against it—the same number in support of us today. What a difference a decade can make!