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PORTLAND, OREGON ELECTS GAY MAYOR
Portland, OR, became the largest U.S. city ever to elect an openly Gay mayor on May 20.

City Commissioner Sam Adams, 44, promised to make the city "cleaner, greener, more sustainable, smarter, more equal, better educated."

Adams got 58.6 percent of the vote in a contest that had 13 candidates. He needed 50 percent to avoid a runoff election.

Portland is not the largest U.S. city ever to have an openly Gay mayor but it is the largest ever to elect one.

Openly Lesbian Toni Atkins served as mayor of San Diego, America's eighth-largest city, for five months in 2005 after Mayor Dick Murphy resigned because of a massive pension-funding debacle.

Atkins was appointed to the job by fellow City Council members after both Murphy and the deputy mayor quit.


MCCAIN DISCUSSES GAYDAR ON SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
Republican presidential candidate John McCain appeared on TV's Saturday Night Live May 17 and talked about Gaydar.

In commenting on congressional pork-barrel spending, McCain said: "$160 million to the Department of Defense for developing a device that can jam Gaydar. Now, I don't know if this is anti-Gay or pro-Gay or if such a device would even work. But I do know this: Jamming Gaydar is not a federal responsibility. That's something that's best left to state and local governments."

The comment could be seen as a dig against the languishing effort to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. To the distress of some Republicans, McCain opposes the amendment, saying marriage is a state issue.


ELLEN, TAKEI TO MARRY PARTNERS
Ellen DeGeneres and George Takei, who was Sulu on Star Trek, are the first two Gay celebrities to announce they will marry their partners when the California Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage takes effect around June 16.

"This is very exciting, I gotta say," DeGeneres said on her TV talk show May 16. "Yesterday, if you haven't heard, the California Supreme Court overturned a ban on Gay marriage. So I would like to say right now for the first time, I am announcing I am getting married. OK, thank you. I am - I will - thank you, I'll tell you who the lucky guy is soon. And, uh, I'm so excited. If I'm this emotional now just saying it, I can't imagine how that's gonna be, but it's something that I've, of course, we've wanted to do, and we want it to be legal and we're just very, very excited."

At one point, the camera cut to DeGeneres' fiancée, actress Portia de Rossi, sitting in the audience with a big grin on her face.

Takei announced his engagement to longtime partner Brad Altman on his website May 16.

"Brad and I have shared our lives together for over 21 years," Takei said. "He is my love and I can't imagine life without him. Now, we can have the dignity, as well as all the responsibilities, of marriage. We embrace it all heartily. ... No more 'separate but equal.' No more second-class citizenship. Brad and I are going to be married as full citizens of our state."

Meanwhile, on May 20, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said same-sex marriage will be good for California's economy.

Speaking at an Environmental Defense Fund event in San Francisco, Schwarzenegger said, "You know, I'm wishing everyone good luck with their marriages and I hope that California's economy is booming because everyone is going to come here and get married."

Schwarzenegger again said he opposes the move to amend the state constitution to re-ban same-sex marriage. Voters likely will have the chance to do that on November 8.

The governor has said he believes the initiative is "a total waste of time" and will not pass because "California people are much further along with that issue."

A May 22 request by anti-Gay forces that the Supreme Court suspend implementation of its ruling until after November 8 is not expected to go anywhere, said Shannon Minter, lead lawyer on the Gay side of the case, and Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California.

They said if the court were interested in delaying the ruling's start date, it would have done so when issuing the decision, given that it was fully aware that Gay couples will be able to marry before voters would be able to stop them.


HARVEY MILK HOLIDAY BILL ADVANCES IN CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLY
A bill to make Harvey Milk's birthday a state holiday passed the California Assembly May 19 in a 45-23 vote.

If the measure clears the Senate and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signs it, the date May 22 will become a "nonfiscal" holiday, meaning it would not cost the state money, and California will become the first state to designate a day in commemoration of a Gay leader. The bill also urges schools to include Milk in history lessons.

"Harvey would be proud to know that his legacy continues to teach us to believe in ourselves and our dreams," said Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, the bill's author. "The bill aims to give LGBT and straight students alike a positive representative of who LGBT people are that inspires pride and self-esteem rather than fear and shame. That is what Harvey was all about."

Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California, said, "This historic vote in the Assembly recognizes the unforgettable leadership of Harvey Milk & who knowingly risked his life because he believed that equality would be achieved by living openly and honestly."

Milk settled San Francisco's Castro district in 1972 and opened a camera store. He went on to pioneer a populist Gay-rights movement in the city and, in 1977, was elected to the Board of Supervisors, the equivalent of a city council, becoming the third openly Gay candidate elected in U.S. history.

He and Mayor George Moscone were shot to death inside City Hall on Nov. 27, 1978, by then recently resigned city Supervisor Dan White, who was angry that Moscone wouldn't let him un-resign and that Milk had lobbied Moscone not to reappoint White.

White's lenient sentence for the killings (seven years and eight months with parole) led to the famed White Night Riots in San Francisco on May 21, 1979.

With assistance from Bill Kelley
pictures: top - Takei-Altman
bottom - Ellen-Portia
 

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