Washington state Democrats elect lesbian as 1st woman speaker of the House

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ABOVE: Washington state Rep. Laurie Jinkins. (Photo from Facebook)

SEATAC, Wash. (AP) | Democrats elected the first female speaker of the House in Washington state on July 31.

With the selection of state Rep. Laurie Jinkins of Tacoma, Washington becomes the eighth state to have a woman in the top spot in the House and is now the second state to have a gay speaker of the House, joining Oregon. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, seven other states have female speakers of the House: Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Oregon and Vermont.

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Oregon adds gender identity to hate crime protections

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The Oregon State Capital in Salem, Oregon. (Photo is Public Domain)

SALEM, Ore. (AP) | Gender identity will be added as a protected class as Oregon’s hate crime laws see the most significant update since the 1980s under a new measure signed by the governor that also closed a loophole that gave lesser sentences to perpetrators who committed hate crimes alone.

“Our hate crime laws are sorely out of date and were written decades ago,” said Zakir Khan, board chair of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “This update is needed to provide justice to so many survivors.”

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Supreme Court vacates $135K fine against Ore. couple who refused to serve gays

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The U.S. Supreme Court vacated on June 17 a $135,000 fine against an Oregon-based family business that refused based on religious objections to make a wedding cake in 2013 for a same-sex couple.

In an order list on Monday, the Supreme Court indicated it had issued summary disposition in response to the petition for certiorari filed by Aaron and Melissa Kline, vacating the decision against the couple and remanding it back to the Oregon Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court’s action falls short of recognizing the First Amendment right sought by the couple to refuse service to same-sex couples.

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Oregon’s nonunanimous juries rooted in white nationalism

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Above: Olan Williams (Aimee Green/The Oregonian via AP, File)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) | After a jury convicted an Oregon man of having sex with a passed-out partygoer, one of the jurors left the courthouse and wept.

Cash Spencer and three other jurors believed the defendant was innocent, but after a lunch break, one changed her mind. Hours later, another changed her vote to guilty, saying she had to take care of her children and didn’t want to return the next day, according to Spencer.

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Gillibrand declares support for third-gender option on federal IDs

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), a 2020 Democratic hopeful, has come out in favor of a non-binary gender marker on federal identification documents, according to CBS News.

The New York Democrat’s support for the third-gender option — a practice adopted in at least two states — Oregon and New Jersey — for birth certificates and driver’s licenses — makes her the first 2020 candidate to take that position.

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Oregon hospital removes gender identification from bracelets

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BEND, Ore. (AP) | A hospital in central Oregon has made a small change that represented a huge difference for its transgender patients: It removed the gender designation from patient identification bracelets.

The Bulletin newspaper in Bend reports the St. Charles Health System adopted the change last month. The ID bracelet is designed to provide caregivers an easy way to identify patients based on two distinct identifiers.

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Oregon man who killed lesbian couple dies on death row

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) | A man who killed a lesbian couple in Oregon and a man in California has died on death row at the Oregon State Penitentiary, authorities said.

Robert James Acremant, 50, died Oct. 26, according to the Oregon Department of Corrections.

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Another gay wedding cake case reaches Supreme Court

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Months after the U.S. Supreme Court in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case issued a narrow ruling in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to make a custom-made wedding cake for a same-sex couple, anti-LGBT legal groups are before justices again seeking a more expansive decision allowing refusal of service to LGBT people.

As reported SCOTUSblog on Monday, the Texas-based law firm First Liberty has filed before the Supreme Court a petition on behalf of Aaron and Melissa Kline of Sweetcakes in Gresham, Ore., asserting a First Amendment right to decline wedding-related services to same-sex couples.

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NYC to add nonbinary ‘X’ designation to birth certificates

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NEW YORK (AP) | People born in New York City who don’t identify as male or female will have the option of changing their birth certificates to “X” under legislation passed September 12 by the City Council.

The bill adopted by a 41-6 vote will also allow parents to choose the “X” designation for their newborns, and it will permit adults to change the gender on their birth certificates without an affidavit from a doctor or mental health professional.

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Hawaii governor signs bill banning conversion therapy for minors

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Hawaii Gov. David Ige on Friday signed into law a bill that would ban so-called conversion therapy for minors.

“Sexual orientation is not an illness to be ‘cured’ — we accept you just the way you are,” said Ige in a tweet that included a picture of him signing the bill.

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Oregon school district accused of forcing LGBTQ student to read Bible as punishment

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COOS BAY, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon school district is accused of forcing students to read Bible passages as a form of punishment, among other accusations.

The Coos Bay World reported Tuesday that the North Bend School District initially denied the claim, but the building administrator later acknowledged in an interview with state education officials that he demanded Bible reading for punishment.

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District won’t allow students to read book on trans kid

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HERMISTON, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon school district has elected not to allow its third- through fifth-graders to participate in a statewide reading program after finding the content of one of the books inappropriate.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Hermiston School District spokeswoman Maria Duron says the district’s elementary school principals decided one title, “George,” about a transgender child “was not appropriate for students” in those grades.

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