News Briefs: Oregon On Hold with Marriage

Gay group decides against ballot measure, while study backs GSAs and Stonewall Museum celebrates


Oregon holds off on 2012 marriage ballot measure

Marriage activists in Oregon have announced they will not continue their campaign effort to legalize marriage between same-sex couples in the state in 2012.

Basic Rights Oregon, a statewide LGBT activist group, had launched multiple television ads promoting marriage legalization, but cited the economic downturn as the primary reason for not continuing their campaign. While the campaign will hold off on a ballot measure for now, the group still plans to continue outreach efforts regarding marriage equality.

”It’s a disappointing sort of position to be in,” Jeana Frazzini, the group’s director told the Associated Press. ”At the same time, it creates a tremendous opportunity. The groundwork that’s been laid, the momentum we’ve created can only get stronger.”

If the group had gone forward and voters had approved, Oregon could have been the first state in the country to vote for marriage-equality legalization in an open ballot. Voters in Maine still could have that distinction, as efforts toward a ballot measure move forward in that state.

–Brian Vetock

New study shows benefit of Gay-Straight Alliances

The Family Acceptance Project has announced that a recent survey found that LGBT young adults tend to have an increasing success rate when they are involved in high school or middle school Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs.)

The study, which examined 245 LGBT young adults, ages 21 to 25, found that LGBT youth are more at risk for school bullying, based on their sexual orientation, which leads to mental health problems such as depression. The study’s findings also demonstrate that a support system such as a GSA can positively affect the academic performance of LGBT youth.

Co-author Stephen T. Russell said in a news release, ”This study adds to the mounting evidence that youth-led clubs are important for healthy development – especially for youth at risk. For LGBT youth, high school [GSAs] make a significant positive difference.”

–Brian Vetock

LGBT history museum and archives honors elected officials

Elaine Noble and Joel Burns were both honored by the Stonewall National Museum and Archives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Nov. 11.

Noble, who was the first openly gay person to be elected to a state legislature, in Massachusetts, was honored with the organization’s Heritage Award. Joel Burns, who is a city council member in Fort Worth, Texas, and who brought attention to the issue of school bullying through a speech he made that has been viewed more than 2.5 million times on YouTube, was honored with the organization’s Spirit Award.

The museum, which honored Noble and Burns at its ”Our Stars Party,” is one of only a few such LGBT museums/in the country. Among its offerings are art exhibits and a library.

–Brian Vetock

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