By Lisa Keen
OREGON DECISION AT NOON TODAY: U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane of Oregon said Friday he would issue his decision at noon PDT today in litigation challenging the state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying. Unless McShane puts a stay on his own decision, a ruling against the ban would likely go into effect immediately. Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber supports the right of same-sex couples to marry, and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum refused to defend the ban in court, saying it was unconstitutional. Officials in several counties have already indicated they are prepared to issue licenses as soon as such a decision is announced.
ARKANSAS ROLLER COASTER: Arkansas county circuit court Judge Chris Piazza issued an amended and final decision May 15 to make clear he intended to include, in his original May 9 ruling striking down two laws banning same-sex couples from marrying, a third law that prohibits county clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The next day, the Arkansas Supreme Court issued a one-sentence order, granting the state’s request for a stay on Piazza’s decision pending the state’s appeal before the state high court. And then, the Republican speaker of the Arkansas House voted against suspension of House rules to allow for a vote on a resolution to urge the state supreme court to overturn Piazza’s ruling. The Arkansas Times reported that House Speaker Davy Carter voted against suspending the rules to allow the resolution on the floor, saying “Judicial intimidation by the legislative branch is not appropriate in this instance or any other.”
MAYOR SAYS BULLIED KIDS SHOULD ‘GROW A PAIR’: Porterville, California, is not an LGBT friendly place. Its city council last fall ousted a mayor who had declared June LGBT Pride Month and, in 2008, it supported Proposition 8. But it still startled some observers last week when the new mayor, Cameron Hamilton, said kids who are bullied should take care of the problem themselves. “I’m against bullying, but I’m getting damn tired of it being used as a mantra for everything….All most people have to do is grow a pair and stick up for them damn selves,” said Hamilton, recorded by ABC News. The former mayor, Virginia Gurrola, said “It’s hard to stand up and grow a pair when you’re a ten-year-old little girl.” The proposal before the council was a resolution by Gurrola to create “safe zones” for kids during after school hours. Gay Porterville spokeswoman Melissa McMurrey said she was “shocked” by Hamilton’s remarks. The council will take up the resolution Tuesday, May 20.
PRESIDENT SPEAKS AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA: The White House issued a press release Friday, saying “no one should face violence or discrimination — no matter who they are or whom they love.” The statement was released to commemorate International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, which was Saturday. The president’s statement also noted that next month marks the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.
CATHOLIC STUDENTS RALLY BEHIND TUX: Students at a Catholic high school in San Francisco wore ties to school Friday to express their support of a female student who wore a tuxedo for her senior portrait. Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory requires female students to wear dresses for their senior portraits and took Jessica Urbina’s photo out of the yearbook. But school officials told the San Francisco Chronicle Friday that the tie-day action “sparked a campus-wide dialogue which will result in a revision of policy.”