Spanning the State: We have some work to do, Edition

Carla Axtman

Last evening I had the great privilege of attending the Basic Rights Oregon annual fundraising dinner and auction. Held at the Oregon Convention Center, the "Glee" themed event showcased wonderful music, fun and fantastical auction items and a room full of people who support every Oregonian's right to marry the person that they love. For a few hours I was able to surround myself with some of the best of what we're about as a state. It was a joy. I arrived at home with a full heart and 3 bottles of really good wine from the silent auction. What a spectacular evening.

And now, let's Span the State!


In stark contrast to my experience at the Basic Rights Oregon dinner comes this story out of Beaverton: Student Teacher Says He was Fired for Mentioning in Class That He Would "Choose to Marry a Man. According to Sarah Mirk of the Portland Mercury, 23 year old student teacher Seth Stambaugh was let go from his unpaid internship at Sexton Mountain Elementary School for answering a student's question about his marital status by explaining that it would be illegal for him to get married because he "would choose to marry another guy." Stambaugh's student teaching assignment was through his graduate program at Lewis & Clark. Their people say that Stambaugh's removal from the classroom is all Beaverton School District's idea. And there, dear readers, is some of the worst of Oregon. Way to suck, BSD.

Speaking of schools, South Albany High School is cracking down on swearing. New principal Brent Belveal is responding to staff concerns about escalated cursing at the school. So a sliding scale punishment program is now in place. Milder curses receive a milder sentence--sometimes a warming. The "F-bomb" will get a student suspended. The principal admits that the threshold for what is considered "off-color language" is murky and in the eye of the beholder. But he says they're going to stick with the policy for now.

The Sisters Nugget, like many other Oregon newspapers, now has a blog. The latest entry examines the paper's struggle to inform the public while dealing with priggish readers whose offense threshold is oddly calibrated.

The folks around Madras and the folks that are part of the Warm Springs Tribe have opened the door to a community conversation that I hope will create mutual understanding and a better sense of one another. As these things often do, the conversation began with with a less than diplomatic catalyst. But now that mutual frustrations and misunderstandings have been brought to the surface, the region can attempt to come to terms with their mutual struggles and find ways to support one another.

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    I hpoe the BRO people are a lot more focused on marriage equality than they are on "Don't ask; don't tell".

    Seems to me that too-strong identification with some weird concept called "American" might lead one to participate in war crimes or, at least, be in the vicinity of them taking place.

    Might be better to self-identify as an open gay person and forget about the "American" part of it.

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    That was indeed a "nugget".

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