In Case You Missed It: News Roundup

From left: Bill Dickey, Governor Barbara Roberts, BRO’s Jeana Frazzini, and Governor John Kithaber
By Kim Hoffman, PQ Monthly

Three cheers for Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, who was recently endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign for his reelection. Naturally, they based their decision on Kitzbaher’s stellar record of voting for non-discrimination measures and supporting same-sex marriage for us gay folk. It goes without saying (but must be said anyway) —Kitzhaber is a silver fox. His hair is all business in the front, party in the back — our kinda guy.

Another major duh — the Human Rights Campaign has our Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley’s back, too. Merkley is a key player in the fight against LGBTQ discrimination in the workplace. He’s up against Republican Monica Wehby in the reelection, but Nate Silver, the man famous for calling the 2012 Presidential winner in all 50 states, predicts Merkley is still in the ranks, and a likely win. If all else fails, I know a good psychic who can help us out. Locating missing people and determining an election are similar, right?

Republican candidate for Governor, Dennis Richardson is in the hot seat for a letter he allegedly wrote 13 years ago. Portland blogger Byron Beck reported via his Facebook page that Richardson previously wrote to the Medford Mail-Tribune: “For nearly a century, the Boy Scouts of America has stood for high moral values, yet the BSA now faces relentless attacks by anti-religious, anti-family activists for not allowing atheist practicing homosexual men to lead Boy Scouts.” So, are atheist straight men off the table, too? What about God-loving “homosexuals”?

Oh, hey! Mark your calendars: From February 13-15, 2015, Portland will be host to the second annual Time to THRIVE — yes, that same conference last year where actress Ellen Page officially came out and moved us all to tears. The Human Rights Campaign, in partnership with the National Education Association and the American Counseling Association, made the announcement on July 21. The conference will aim at creating ample awareness around LGBTQ youth-related practices in school, community and healthcare — along with their well-being and safety. Conference Chair and Director of HRC Foundation’s Youth Well-Being Project, Vinnie Pompei told LGBT Weekly, “When it comes to advocating for LGBT youth, Portland is full of inspiration.” Oh, hell yeah. Register at TimeToThrive.org.

The Human Rights Campaign is on fire — their Welcoming Schools Project is partnering with Oregon Safe Schools Coalition to create some rather important anti-bullying/wellness training across the state. The Q Center will host training sessions on August 4.

Do you know about Safety Net? It’s an underground LGBT-friendly student organization that’s branched out across many evangelical campuses. At Oregon’s George Fox University, there’s OneGeorgeFox. Its founder, Paul Southwick told The Atlantic that an all-faculty meeting yielded displeasing results when it was made clear that if you supported OneGeorgeFox, you would be “in violation of your employment agreement.” You may remember our buddy Jacye M. who was discriminated against for being transgender and requesting housing on-campus. Hold on, Safety Net — the presence of young LGBTQ religious students as a united front could be a game-changer and turn the tables — power on!

This past week, the Lotus Rising Project donated over 3,000 titles to Southern Oregon University’s library — doubling their collection of LGBTQ-themed books already on the shelves. Holy smokes, that’s a ton of books. Last year, SOU was named one of the top 25 colleges for LGBT students.

We often seen Florida in the headlines for something really whacked — a gnarly mug shot of someone who did something unbelievable, and we say, “Oh. Florida.” But now for some good news to come out of the Sunshine State: This month, two judges have struck down on the same-sex marriage ban. The first ruling came earlier in the month from Monroe County Judge Luis Garcia (translation: Key West.) The second ruling came on July 25 out of Miami-Dade County. Who knows (and who cares) if any other counties in Florida flip the switch, aren’t Key West and Miami the spots to marry, anyway?