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One State May Be About to Get the Nation's First Openly Bisexual Governor

Kate Brown Oregon secretary of state

In the discussions of LGBT issues, the "B" has a tendency to be overlooked. For whatever reason - bisexuals can be accused of "hiding"; bisexuals don't really exist; bisexuals fade into nothingness if they don't have sex with a person of each gender every day - bisexual visibility is a problem.

KitzhaberKate Brown, the secretary of state of Oregon, stands to give the bisexual community a major bump in visibility. Gov. John Kitzhaber (right) is presently embroiled in a scandal that has him under investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice and the FBI. The governor's future is uncertain, but if he steps down, then Brown would rise to the role of governor to take his place Brown is an openly bisexual woman, and if she were to assume the role of governor, she would be the first in the nation.

It will all hinge on how the scandal with the current governor falls out, however, as Kithaber's lawyer is adamant that the governor will remain in office.


Rachel Maddow Shows Some Love to Gay Tech Bears Who Own Jeb Bush Presidential Campaign Website: VIDEO

Maddow2

In a segment on an odd set of stories from Oregon, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow took a look at CJ Phillips and Charlie Rainwater - the self-described high-tech bear couple who bought www.JebBushForPresident.com back in 2008 and are using the site "as a platform to educate our friends and family about political impact to LGBT families."

Maddow, who called the story "the single most amazing thing you need to know about Oregon today", also used the segment to educate her viewers about bears - or as she calls them "everyone's favorite happy gay subculture."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

[h/t jmg]

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Oregon Baker Found Guilty of Discriminating Against Gay Couple; Faces Fine of Up to $150,000

Sweetckaes

Sweet Cakes, the Oregon bakery which refused to bake a cake in January 2013 after they found out it was for a lesbian's wedding, has been found guilty by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries of discriminating against the couple getting married and faces fines of up to $150,000, KGW Portland reports:

In Jan. 2013, Laurel Bowman said Sweet Cakes refused to sell her and her fiancée a cake for their upcoming wedding. Bowman said Aaron Klein, the co-owner of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, said the couple's union was an "abomination unto the lord."

Bowman filed an anti-discrimination complaint with BOLI later that year, alleging that the bakery violated the Oregon Equality Act of 2007, which protects the rights of Oregonians who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

According to KGW, Sweet Cakes by Melissa is liable for up to $75,000 per person, "which means the same-sex couple could be awarded up to $150,000."

Sweet Cakes closed in September 2013, moving its business to an 'in-home' bakery after the state began its investigation and it became the target of protests.

The baker posted a sign on the door at the time:

"This fight is not over. We will continue to stand strong. Your Religious Freedom is becoming not Free anymore. This is ridiculous that we can not practice our faith. The LORD is good and we will continue to serve Him with all our heart. ♥”


States Defending Gay Marriage Bans Costing Taxpayers Millions In Attorney Fees

MarriageGraphic

Plaintiffs in successful same-sex marriage lawsuits have been awarded more than $800,000 in attorneys fees' from states that defended the bans, with another $2.6 million in requests pending, according to a new report from The National Law Journal: 

Federal district judges across the country have issued nearly three dozen rulings since late 2013 declaring state same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional. Attorney fee petitions haven't been filed yet in the majority of those cases as they go before circuit courts and the U.S. Supreme Court. The fee awards, agreements and requests to date offer an early snapshot of what these landmark civil rights cases could cost taxpayers. ... 

Plaintiffs who prevail in federal civil rights cases can collect legal fees from the losing side. Congress set up the fee-shifting rule as an incentive for lawyers to take on time-consuming and expensive civil rights litigation, said Deborah Ferguson, lead counsel for the couples who fought Idaho's gay marriage ban.

In Idaho, the plaintiffs' attorneys were awarded a whopping $410,663 — the most in any state thus far. But that hasn't stopped Republican Gov. Butch Otter from continuing his futile defense of the state's marriage ban in court. The other states where plaintiffs' attorneys fees have been awarded or agreed to in same-sex marriage cases are Kentucky, Missouri, Oregon and Virginia. Requests are pending in Alaska, Arkansas, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wisconsin. 

Of course, the plaintiffs' attorneys fees don't include the cost to taxpayers of states paying their lawyers or hiring outside counsel to defend the bans — or, for that matter, lost revenue from wedding-related spending where same-sex marriage is still not legal. 

All told, it seems that defending discrimination isn't cheap, and states that continue to fight same-sex marriage better be prepared to pay up. And the irony is, many of the same folks who advocate lower taxes are the same ones fighting hardest to deprive same-sex couples of the freedom to marry.  


Gossip's Beth Ditto Reveals She Legally Married Fiancé In Oregon On New Year's Eve

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Gossip lead singer Beth Ditto revealed on Facebook earlier this week that she legally married her fiancé Kristin Ogata in Oregon on New Year's Eve reports Winnipeg Free PressThe singer originally had a non-legally binding ceremony in Maui with Ogata in July 2013, but with the Oregon ceremony the couple are officially married according to state law. Ditto took time to thank those who fought for gay marriage throughout the U.S. in the last year with a post on Facebook.

Said Ditto:

"Legally married finally, a year later!

"Thanks everyone who fought to make gay marriage legal in Oregon! In 2015, the whole U.S.!"

Full details of the Oregon ceremony are still under wraps however, in Ditto's 2013 Maui ceremony she wore a Jean Paul Gaultier gown with a low-cut bodice, tulle skirt and a veil to walk down the aisle. Ditto chose not to wear shoes during the ceremony, walking down the aisle barefoot. Ogata wore a three-piece suit jacket, shirt and shorts for the occasion. Ogata worked as Ditto's assistant during the production of the group's album "Standing in the Way of Control." At the time Ditto developed strong feelings for Ogata, but she was still in a nine-year relationship with Freddie Fagula; Ditto ended the relationship in January 2010 and explained the breakup and her relationship with Ogata.

Said Ditto:

"It was something that I kept hidden deep inside of me. But everyone knew. Even people at parties and clubs would be like, 'When are they going to get together?' There was always a little guilt inside of me because I felt I was cheating, but I never cheated. We never did anything ... I dated Freddie for nine years, and I was always worried it was going to end. With Kristen I never worry about it ending, I just feel completely full and whole."

Ditto has yet to post any photos from the Oregon ceremony except one of the couple together with a caption announcing their marriage on Facebook. 


Gay Evangelical Raises 'Olive Branch' Funding For Anti-Gay Sweet Cakes Bakery

Matt Stolhandske

You may remember Sweet Cakes Bakery in Oregon, one of the first bakeries to make a stink about making cakes for gay weddings. The anti-gay attitudes of owners Melissa and Aaron Klein resulted in quick condemnation from activists, and the protests and investigations by the state's Bureau of Labor soon caused the bakery to close up shop and move "in-home."

A year and a $150,000 fine from the state of Oregon later and the owners of Sweet Cakes are finding an unlikely new supporter in the form of gay evangelical conservative Matt Stolhandske, who wrote a fundraising column in the Washington Post. Interestingly, Stolhandske doesn't appear to be a self-hating homosexual, an ex-gay, or even spouting the tired "religious freedom trumps all" falsehood. In fact, he even calls out the Klein's flimsy argument of endorsement of a "sinful" lifestyle:

This [lesbian] couple didn’t ask the Kleins for their blessing. They simply asked to pay for a cake. Last I checked, a pastry is not moral approval of a religious ceremony.

Furthermore, he explains that his motivation is that he doesn't want the family - who may potentially be bankrupted by the fines - to suffer. In his own words, "[T]his is what an olive branch looks like." This olive branch doesn't come with a dismissal of the Klein's behaviors, however:

I don’t want them to suffer. But I am also pleading with them and other Christians to stop using the name of Jesus to explain to the LGBT community why we don’t deserve access to the civil rights afforded to heterosexuals through the legal institution of marriage.

Turning the other cheek, forgiving trespasses, reaching out with an offer of reconciliation to prevent further suffering and unhappiness and engender peace...it's like Stolhandske actually read the teachings of Jesus and appears to be making an effort to live by those moral decrees. Right-wingers, take note.


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