Speed Read: Friday 18 October 2013

1- OREGON OKS OUT-OF-STATE MARRIAGES: Oregon’s Department of Justice issued an advisory letter to state agencies Wednesday, saying it is “legally defensible” for the state to recognize marriages of same-sex couples licensed in other states. “To do otherwise would likely violate the federal constitution,” wrote Deputy Attorney General Mary Williams. Williams wrote the letter in response to an inquiry from the state’s chief operating officer about how to handle same-sex couples who marry in the neighboring states of California and Washington.
2- DECISION ON NJ STAY LIKELY TODAY: The New Jersey Supreme Court is likely to announce today whether it will grant an emergency stay of a lower court order that the state begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples Monday, October 21. The court has already indicated it will, in January, hear Governor Chris Christie’s appeal of the lower court ruling that the state’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional.
3- MSNBC ANCHOR HEADING TO RUSSIA: Thomas Roberts, the openly gay anchor of MSNBC Live, says he jumped at the chance to co-host the broadcast of the Miss Universe from Moscow next month. Roberts acknowledged that some people questioned why he wouldn’t boycott an event in Russia, which is enforcing laws aimed at repressing LGBT people. “Boycotting and vilifying from the outside is too easy,” he said in an essay Thursday on the MSNBC website. “Rather, I choose to offer my support of the LGBT community in Russia by going to Moscow and hosting this event as a journalist, an anchor and a man who happens to be gay.” Roberts also noted that the Miss Universe Organization “issued its own statement that Russian laws are ‘diametrically opposed to the core values’ of Miss Universe.”
4- CALIFORNIA AG OPPOSES EX-GAY APPEAL: California Attorney General Kamala Harris filed a brief with the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Thursday arguing against a full court (en banc) review of a decision upholding the state’s law against reparative therapy for minors. The decision came in two consolidated cases challenging the law as violating the free speech rights of therapists. Harris said the panel properly found that the law does not regulate speech but rather “professional treatment” and that there is “no fundamental right to a treatment that the State has deemed harmful.” Equality California, an intervenor in the case, also opposed a full court appeal Thursday in a brief submitted by the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
5- TIMES HAVE CHANGED: When President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism to U.S. Army Captain William Swenson on Tuesday, he made note of a “remarkable piece of video” that captured Swenson’s efforts, under enemy fire in Afghanistan in 2009, to save the life of a mortally wounded fellow soldier. The video shows that, “amidst the whipping wind roar of the helicopter blade, he does something unexpected,” said Obama. “He leans in and kisses the wounded soldier on the head –a simple act of compassion and loyalty to a brother in arms.” Swenson is not gay but, in 2009, with Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell still in place with a broad and vaguely defined prohibition on “homosexual conduct,” his act of compassion might have triggered an investigation.

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