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Friday, September 18, 20:06:37Login ] [ Contact Forum Admin ] [ Main index ] [ Post a new message ] [ Search | Check update time | Archives: 12345[6]7 ]
Subject: Beauty Pageant Called Homophobic

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
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Date Posted: 03/30/05 7:02:18am

(Portland, Oregon) Portland Mayor Tom Potter is under fire after rejecting a request for a letter of support for the Mrs Oregon pageant calling it anti-gay.

The beauty contest is the local part of the Mrs America Pageant which requires that contestants be married to men only. It also requires contestants to be "natural born" females.

Pageant organizers asked Potter for a letter to put in the pageant's program "acknowledging your support of the Mrs. Oregon America Program."

Potter refused, and issued a statement saying that Portland city policy requires it not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

The pageant's rule "fails to recognize the other loving relationships in our community," his statement said.

Libby Crawford, the Mrs Oregon executive director, said no lesbian has entered the contest but admitted that she rewrote the rules last year in the wake of Multnomah County's decision to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Some 2,000 same-sex couples married before a court ended the practice. (story) Portland is the county's largest city.

Oregon voters in November approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

"I didn't want to deal with my pageant becoming a stage," Crawford told the Oregonian newspaper.

"I've seen it happen in some pageants where someone's political agenda came out at a pageant. It can ruin your system."

The group that won the constitutional ban on gay marriage quickly entered the controversy on the side of the beauty pageant.

"In order to be a Mrs., you must be married to a Mr.," said Tim Nashif, spokesperson for the Defense of Marriage Coalition.

But Potter's stand won praise from the state's largest LGBT rights group.

"It's always refreshing when community leaders are willing to take a principled position on an issue of justice and fairness for everyone," spokesperson Rebekah Kassell told the Oregonian.

Potter, who has a lesbian daughter, has been a longtime supporter of LGBT issues.

Before becoming mayor Potter was Portland's police chief. In 1990 he marched in uniform in a Pride parade along side his daughter Katie, also a Portland officer.

In 1994 he was considered to head the Clinton administration's new federal community policing program. He later withdrew after Justice Department officials expressed concern about his support for gay issues.

365Gay.com 2005

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