New Briefs

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By Kim Hoffman, PQ Monthly

LOCAL

On Dec. 2, a vicious hate crime took place at Bagby Hot Springs, PQ Monthly reported in our last issue. Mik Holland and a friend were attacked and bludgeoned with a flashlight, and ambulanced to nearby Oregon Health & Science University. No suspects have been made; however detailed descriptions of the perpetrators were given to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Department, along with a vehicle description: a 2007-2010 dark blue or charcoal grey Dodge pickup with Washington plates. If you have information, please help by contacting the Sherriff tip line at 503-723-4949 and reference case #13-36459.

Eric Marcoux and Eugene Woodworth, partners for 60 years, decided to officially tie the knot in Washington, after waiting decades for Oregon to legalize gay marriage. In a heartbreaking twist, Woodworth was recently diagnosed with congestive heart failure—he died just a week and one day afterward on Dec. 21. He was 85. Our hearts go out to Marcoux and Woodworth’s family.

news briefs image 2Huge support was given across Oregon when participants recently launched Communities of Color United for Marriage (CC4M.) Representatives involved in the newly rooted organization include: Basic Rights Oregon, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, PFLAG Portland Black Chapter, Coalition of Communities of Color, Mano a Mano, Portland Latino Gay Pride, Western States Center, and many more. Getting involved is easy: Contact Emily@ORUnited.org for all the info.

New Year’s Eve is supposed to be about midnight kisses and confetti. But the popular gay dance club Neighbour’s, on Seattle’s Capitol Hill, was the scene of an attempted fire on Jan. 1. Just fifteen minutes after ringing in the New Year, an arsonist (or arsonists) covered the carpet steps in gasoline. Thankfully, no injuries were reported. If you were partying like it’s 1999 in Seattle to ring in the holiday, any tips should be called in to the Seattle Police Arson/Bomb Squad.

The Lotus Rising Project, based out of Medford, Ore., officially opened its new Lending Library doors on Jan. 5. Materials were turned over from Ashland-based non-profit organization Abdill-Ellis Center. Morag Elizabeth catalogued the collection with her daughter, Jennifer Taylor. Board president Julian Spalding told Mail Tribune “there’s no other library like this in the Rogue Valley.” Happy archiving, Southern Oregon.

Mark Zmuda, a former Washington high school vice principal appeared in a YouTube video on January 4, blasting Eastside Catholic School for firing him because of his recent marriage to his same-sex partner. Zmuda claims the head of the school suggested he get a divorce to keep his job. Since then students have rallied with Zmuda, who they refer to as “Mr. Z.” All who agree: #keepMrZ2013.

The City of Roses will be ecstatic to learn that Advocate magazine just announced Portland is the 20th gayest city in the nation. Do you agree? Seattle took the third spot, while Washington, D.C. came in first.

The Eugene School District recently paid a $5,000 settlement after a bullying lawsuit made claims they did not prevent a Cal Young Middle School boy from being harassed over his sexuality. Since then, the boy has transferred to a private school—but one can only hope the school district has taken a more serious aim at anti-bullying conduct.

NATIONAL

The U.S. Supreme Court put a halt on gay marriages in Utah on Jan. 6. A petition was sent to Justice Sonia Sotomayor from the state to temporarily cease any same-sex marriages while an appeal is in process. Since Judge Robert Shelby’s Dec. 20 ruling that the ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, over 900 Utah same-sex couples have wed.

Shortly after the Supreme Court’s announcement, on Jan. 10, the Obama administration announced it would recognize Utah’s same-sex marriages. The move will allow the couples to access federal benefits available to married couples, such as the ability to file joint tax returns, while the courts mull the validity of the marriages and the court rulings that led to them. The move is also a bit of a rebuff and counterpoint to the position taken by Utah’s governor—a Republican—who refused to recognize the same-sex unions. Once again, Obama has proven he’s something of an ally to the LGBTQ community.

news briefs image 3On Dec. 19, the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon and counsel from Johnson, Johnson & Schaller, PC, and Perkins Coie, LLP, filed a suit similar to the one filed in October by Lake Perriguey and Lea Ann Easton. This time, two couples are filing: Lisa Chickadonz and Christine Tanner, and Paul Rummell and Benjamin West. The October and December suits were filed with the Federal District Court in Eugene, declaring the ban on same-sex marriage a violation of the U.S. constitution. ACLU is in attempt to have the two cases consolidated.

A well-known member of the LGBTQ activist community, Frank Goldberg disappeared in Buffalo, N.Y., on Dec. 16. Goldberg was at home visiting family, but had recently moved to Portland, OR. Any information about the case should be sent to FindFrankGoldberg@gmail.com.

New Mexico became the 17th state to legalize same-sex marriage! Marriage licenses were issued back in August to more than 1,000 couples in eight of the 33 counties. The ACLU and National Center for Lesbian Rights represented same-sex couples in the Supreme Court case. Doesn’t it seem like this march is sort of inevitable?

Coca-Cola recently aired a European commercial that included a same-sex wedding in the final cut; however an alternative version of the ad aired in Ireland, replacing the same-sex couple with a man and woman. Sure, the Irish love beer, but a little same-sex loving soda never hurt anyone.

Michelle Obama (also known as FLOTUS) recently sent her warm congratulations on over to Robin Roberts, the Good Morning America anchor who recently came out. The First Lady even tweeted about it: “@RobinRoberts, I am so happy for you and Amber! You continue to make us all proud.”  Roberts and Amber Laign have been dating for ten years.