Search This Blog

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Gay marriage newspaper coverage 1971 vs. 2014 Corvallis Pride event

Corvallis 2014 gay marriage Pride coverage G-T Jun. 29, 2014, p. A1 and A8

PHOTO: front and back pages of local newspaper coverage of the June 2014 Pride month in Corvallis celebrating a court decision legalizing gay marriage in Oregon. See Corvallis Pride 2014 Festival and newspaper story by Canda Fuqua, "A Celebration of Marriage: Pride in the Park festival celebrates same-sex weddings," Gazette-Times, Jun. 29, 2014, p. A1, A8 published online as "Marriage theme takes off at Corvallis gay pride event". (Also, see previous post Gay marriage boosts Pride turnout in Corvallis, Oregon (6/30/13) about last year Pride event coverage and gay women quoted as wanting to get married in a 1970's newspaper story and previous post Mainstream ignoring US Supreme Court's 1972 gay marriage decision (12/11/12).)

PHOTO: scan of an original cellophane-taped scrapbook clipping of a 1971 newspaper story about the 1970 gay marriage of Michael McConnell and Jack Baker, which led to the first U.S. Supreme Court decision on gay marriage in 1972 -- Bob Protzman, staff writer, "'Gay' Marriage OK Predicted," St. Paul, Minnesota Pioneer Press, Oct. 22, 1971. (See personal blog page by Jack Baker, "Marriage equality was inevitable DFL party demanded equal marriage in 1972," posted June 13, 2013, edited May 11, 2014, accessed Jun. 29, 21014) I have transcribed below, for me and my blind and low vision readers, the full text of the above newspaper article and also annotated it with my comments in parentheses: (COMMENT: It is telling that an editor made the journalistic decision to add quotes around the word "gay" in the headline, because the story said "gay" was the term preferred by Baker, and the story also used the phrase, "same-sex marriage," which did not become standard usage by newspaper editors until years later when newspapers probably adopted it to sound unbiased when reporting on the politically volatile issue of gay marriage.)

Jack Baker, an admitted homosexual and third-year law student, told the Ramsey County (Minnesota) Bar Association (a professional group of lawyers) Thursday he is confident same-sex marriages will be legalized in the United States. (COMMENT: it was common journalistic practice to use the criminal reporter's term "admitted" to avoid a libel lawsuit and this usage was also probably encouraged by the fact homosexual acts were criminal in most states.)

Baker, whose invitation to speak to the organization at its monthly luncheon in the St. Paul Athletic Club stirred some criticism from members, began his talk by saying what a pleasure it was for him to be able to speak to the Bar Association. (COMMENT: ironically, the Athletic Club was a place that some gay men frequently cruised for sex partners amongst the rich and powerful men who regularly networked and struck business deals in the club.)

He added, "Especially since the bar put extreme pressure on the University of Minnesota law school two years ago to refuse to allow me to enroll. (COMMENT: gay men were routinely barred from military service and discriminated against under the assumption they would engage in then illegal homosexual sodomy acts.)

This comment drew no response from the 96 or so lawyers and their friends at the luncheon -- a turnout which program committee chairman Bert McKay said was "average."

McKay said he had "heard from some lawyers that some lawyers" were complaining that Baker was invited to speak at the luncheon. He said no complaints were made directly to him or to his knowledge anyone else on the program committee.

Baker, 29, Minnesota Student Association president (COMMENT" commonly called the University of Minnesota student body president) explained his recent legal actions, which have included his being adopted by, then married to James McConnell, also 29. (COMMENT: born circa 1941 or 1942 -- age 72 or 73 in 2014)

He told the lawyers he thinks that same-sex marriages, or marriages between homosexuals, or "gay" people (the term he prefers), are not only authorized by the U.S. Constitution, but are also mandatory.

"I am convinced," he said, "that same-sex marriages will be legalized in the United States." He did not predict when this might occur.

Last week, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision that state law prohibits marriage between persons of the same-sex. (COMMENT: the decision did not order his legally performed marriage to be annulled.)

Baker said he does not believe the decision invalidates his marriage. He said the decision will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. "I think we have a good case and will win it," he said. (COMMENT: in 1972 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a one-sentence ruling , which essentially left the definition of marriage to state law, and the court did not issue any order annulling Baker's legally performed marriage under a Minnesota law that did not specify gender.)

In a second court case, this one involving only McConnell, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis upheld this week the right of the University of Minnesota to refuse a librarian job to an admitted homosexual. "That verdict probably will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, also, Baker said. (COMMENT: McConnell was forced to take job with another public library system, where he had a long and successful career until he retired.)

Baker discussed this and his lawyers' legal positions about same-sex marriages. In a question-and-answer session following his talk, he said the gay movement and women's liberation movement have much in common. (COMMENT: Women liberationists were central to the founding of gay activist groups, including the one at Oregon State University.)

Both groups want to knock down the artificial roles assigned to men and women, to establish that men and women are people and equal in all respects -- except for the "plumbing," he said.

He said, in answer to questions, that he does not believe there has been any increase in the number of homosexuals in recent years, but that because of increased activism by some gay people, many others "are coming out of the closet." (COMMENT: A common fear back then was that one could be made gay by being molested by a homosexual pervert and gay liberationists were actively using "coming out" as a political strategy.)

He estimated that there are 70 active gay people at the University of Minnesota, "There are many friends of gay people," he said. (COMMENT: I was one of 50,000 students at the U of M at this time and I concur with his estimate based on the number of people you would see at bars, meetings and rallies. At the time, gay activists would often say the "Kinsey Report" said that 10 percent of all people are gay, an oversimplification of the data that only wasted time arguing about the accuracy of the data instead of the fact that all men should be treated equally under the law.)-

(Quoted from Bob Protzman, staff writer, "'Gay' Marriage OK Predicted," St. Paul, Minnesota Pioneer Press, Oct. 22, 1971)

Photo of story about gay women on page 7 of Jan. 9, 1976 Corvallis Gazette-Times.

PHOTO: Jan. 9, 1976 feature article by Anne Wood, "Gay women: Coming out of the closet in Corvallis, 'Now I want to marry this woman,'" on p. 7-8 of Corvallis Gazette-Times. One of the women profiled in the article came out in a letter to the editor of her student newspaper and she was active in early gay women's groups at Oregon State University. (See previous post Gay 1976 newspaper controversy (5/3/06))

Baker et al. v. Nelson, United States Reports, Volume 409, Cases Adjudged in the Supreme Court, October Term, 1972, Oct. 10, 1972 'dismissed for want of a substantial federal question.'

PHOTO: An original printed bound copy of first U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, which was one-sentence long, is available for viewing in the OSU Valley library. The first gay marriage case was initiated by University of Minnesota law student Jack Baker in and his lover Michael McConnell in 1970 after they noticed that Minnesota State law did not specify the gender of married couples and they got married: Baker et al. v. Nelson, Oct. 10, 1972, "United States Reports, Volume 409, Cases Adjudged in the Supreme Court, October Term, 1972," U.S. Government Printing Office, 1974, p. 810. (See previous posts Mainstream ignoring US Supreme Court's 1972 gay marriage decision (12/11/12), Baker v. Nelson 1972 Supreme Court order on gay marriage (7/22/09), Arthur Leonard CA Prop 8 appeal still citing Jack Baker gay marriage case (8/3/12) and (NY Constitutional law Professor) Arthur S. Leonard on Baker v Nelson gay marriage case (7/28/09))

See my previous posts and other links of interest:

Monday, June 16, 2014

Anti-gay Governor challenged by conservative business show host

VIDEO: Conservative TV business channel host Joe Kernen on CNBC's Squawk Box challenged the Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry on why he supports the anti-gay policies of the Republican Party -- aired live on June 16, 2014 at 5:30AM Pacific Time, 8:30AM on Wall Street -- to see the video and to read a text transcript, see Alexandra Bolles, "VIDEO: CNBC educates Gov. Rick Perry on the fact that gay people cannot be 'changed'," posted Jun. 16, 2014. I was pleasantly surprised when I woke up this morning, June 16, 2014 at 5:30AM Pacific Time (8:30AM on Wall Street) to hear the predictably conservative, pro-business, pro-Republican, and pro-Tea Party anchor Joe Kernen on CNBC's Squawk Box challenging the Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry on why he is supporting the anti-gay policies of the Republican Party that are dividing people out of the Party, such as with Perry's anti-gay marriage views and his belief in ex-gays -- the idea that gay people can choose to be straight. Rightwing host Joe kernen directly asked Gov. Perry why he thought heterosexuals could become homosexuals and why he thought gays could become ex-gay or choose to be straight when the major psychological groups agree that such therapy is unethical. Governor Perry answered by only repeating his mantra on the 10th Amendment saying that the states should decide gay marriage instead of a central government. Gov. Perry boasted that 70 percent of Texans and voters in many more "Red States" wanted to recognize only marriages between one man and one woman. When the CNBC host asked if Texas would respect the marriages performed in other states, Perry only said that he neither condoned nor condemned the decisions made by other states, but did not say if Texas would legally recognize these marriages, which Texas law currently forbids. The reason I was so pleasantly surprised to see this interview is because Joe Kernen and his cohost and Tea Party cheerleader Rick Santelli are so rightwing and into the "everyman for himself" type of Republicanism that both of them have become hard for me to listen to, but I have forced myself to watch the start of their show every day only because I want to hear what Wall Street is saying before the market opens each day.

Local newspaper moves to old building with a leaky roof

PHOTO: Google map of where the local newspaper Gazette-Times offices moved to 1835 N.W. Circle Blvd. Corvallis Oregon in June 2014. See "Here's how to reach the Gazette-Times this week while we move," posted Jun. 4, 2014 and Staff, "G-T moves to Circle Boulevard offices," posted Jun. 9, 2014.

A current topic of research and discussion in engineering journals addresses the decaying of America's aging infrastructure by proposing how existing public policies to ensure public safety should be updated in the 21st Century. The need for doing this has risen because during the post-World War II building boom in America building codes and enforcement policies were properly focused largely on new construction, which has proven to be an efficient and effective way to reduce the possibility for injury or death, due to fires, electrocutions, building collapses, by slowly over time making the majority of structures in America meet modern building standards.

However, as new construction has slowed down and the average age of buildings in America has increased, the issue of poor maintenance has become a bigger concern because the only incentive for structure owners to prevent injuries is their fear of losing a liability lawsuit or of being shunned by the community or marketplace.

The motivation for structure owners to reduce their personal liability has diminished because more and more real estate is owned by anonymous limited liability corporations and real estate investment trusts (known as a REIT) that can go bankrupt and legally shift liability risks to insurance companies and the public.

The experience of my local newspaper editor dealing with local landlords because his corporate owner asked him to move into smaller offices, prompted me to write the following letter to the editor:

The Gazette-Times' offices are moving into the same commercial building complex where a restaurant owner had to hang plastic sheets from the ceiling to catch water drips from a leaky roof his landlord either refused to or was unable to fix.

Skillful property managers profit from delaying building maintenance.

I worry that public policies for building inspections might allow structural damage, such as corrosion or dry rot, to be missed in America's aging infrastructure, which could lead to a building collapse and the loss of life.

Thomas Kraemer, Corvallis

Editor's note: The roof is undergoing repair at the new Gazette-Times office at 1835 N.W. Circle Blvd.

(Quoted fromThomas Kraemer, "Letter: Building inspection policies should raise safety concerns," posted Jun. 12, 2014)

It is rare for an editor's comment to be appended to a letter as above, but in this case it confirmed my speculation that roof repairs were needed, which had not been mentioned in the newspaper before I submitted my letter, perhaps because the newspaper did not want to pick a public fight with their new landlord.

I was also pleasantly surprised when I received a rare and personal email from the editor, especially given he was busy in the middle of moving, thanking me for my letter submission and giving me his description of the bad experiences the G-T had dealing with local landlords -- I am sure he didn't want to say anything libelous or slanderous because I double-checked my letter for any libel before I submitted it!

I also found it interesting that one of the newspaper articles said the number of employees at the newspaper shrunk from 100 in 1970 to about 25 in 2014 -- given this fact and the number of pages printed today and the percentage of advertising, one could calculate a good estimate of the revenue and profits of this real newspaper today -- it looks to me like the old-fashioned newspaper is nowhere near going out of business in the Internet Age as many pundits have predicted. Most of the staff reductions are easily explained by productivity improvements, if you don't believe email has taken it all away. (See Steve Lundeberg,"Sex, race and other topics from the inbox," Gazette-Times, Sunday, Jun. 15, 2014 the Albany editor humorously describes how the productivity improvements in the Internet Age for producing newspapers has been cancelled out by the "few hundred emails to deal with every day." and Mike McInally, "Think Too Much: A tip of the hat to an old friend," Gazette-Times, Sunday, Jun. 15, 2014)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

OSU Social Justice Walking Tour includes W. Dorr Legg story

PHOTO: The first Oregon State University Social Justice Tour was featured by the combined Corvallis and Albany Sunday newspaper in a front-page story by Canda Fuqua, "Social Justice Tour: Marginalized get their due," Gazette-Times, Jun. 8, 2014, p. A1, A5 posted online as "Justice: Giving due to the marginalized," accessed Jun. 8, 2014. I also saw a short report on two TV news stations. Ironically, when readers of the combined Sunday morning print edition of the Albany Democrat-Herald and Corvallis Gazette-Times jumped to the continuation of the story on page A5 (shown in upper part of photo above) they also saw the facing page A4 display advertisement for Hobby Lobby -- a business owned by politically active Christians who have notoriously donated money to anti-gay causes (e.g. Google hobby lobby anti-gay donations). I almost missed seeing the Hobby Lobby ad because I am unable to see its bright red headline and so I thank the person who alerted me to it). I doubt the newspaper's layout was intentionally anti-gay because most newspaper layout software doesn't show display ads until much later in the production process and I doubt anybody at a busy daily would have the time to do it on deadline, but this unintentionally anti-gay layout would make for a good conspiracy. (The newspaper also provided a link to the mobile phone app for the tour:, which unfortunately is not low-vision accessible -- I wasn't able to find a text version of it and therefore I haven't been able to review it yet. I wish I had been able to participate in the tour in person, but I do not have the needed strength or health right now.)

The above newspaper article credits Professor Natchee Barnd, an assistant professor of ethnic studies, and four Oregon State University graduate students in his ethnohistory methodology course for creating the social justice walking tour stories, which he emphasized, were fictional, but "were rooted in the historical context of the time and place." The article said, "Using a mix of creative storytelling techniques and historical research, the students on Wednesday led a group of nearly 50 people on the Social Justice Tour of Corvallis, connecting the crowd with the narratives in a very concrete way. . . They detailed the life of a slave who bought his freedom in 1859 and homesteaded along the Alsea River, Chinese railroad workers of the 1880s, a college professor and gay rights activist in 1935, and a Japanese-American football player at Oregon State who was forced to miss the 1942 Rose Bowl because the government considered him a security risk after the bombing of Pearl Harbor."

When asked for input a few months ago, I recommended to Prof. Natchee Barnd that he include in his social justice tour the former Oregon State University Professor W. Dorr Legg, who was a homophile movement founder before the 1969 Stonewall riot and who later founded the gay Log Cabin Republicans. Thanks to the San Francisco activist Michael Petrelis, who did the FBI freedom of information requests, we now know that the famously closeted FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had a file on Legg that documented the houses Legg lived in when he was a professor at OSU in the 1930's and 1940's. (See FBI files on gay OSU professor 1956 (7/7/10))

One of the participants in the walking tour, Jason Dorsette, moved to Corvallis four months ago to become director of the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center at OSU. If he hasn't seen it already, I hope he will have a chance to read my previous post OSU cross burning 1976 (8/5/06) about early vandalism that occurred when the black student's cultural center was first started. I accidently bumped into this article while researching OSU history and I recalled how OSU at the time was predominately white, but it was not overtly racist like what I experienced at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge in the 1950's.

See my previous posts

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Gay Oregon chicken queen and Obama fund raiser accused by twink of video recording gay sex acts

Princeton University Library bookplate and title page of 1914 book by Magnus Hirschfeld, Die Homosexualität des Mannes und des Weibes' scanned by Google Books from library copy owned by Princeton University

PHOTO: A century ago, the Book written about homosexual men and women by a gay German doctor Dr. med. Magnus Hirschfeld, Arzt für nervöse und psychische Leiden in Berlin, "Die Homosexualität des Mannes und des Weibes," Louis Marcus Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1914, mentioned the international stereotype of older gay men, who in 20th Century American slang were called tops, chicken queens or chicken hawks, as preying on younger gay men, often called twinks or bottoms in the vernacular. The older man was often blackmailed by the younger man after having gay sex with them. Recently, a real-life example of this stereotype came out publically -- a 65 year old Oregon fund raiser for Obama accused his twink lover of trying to extort money by accusing him of secretly video recording gay sex acts in his bedroom. (See the Portland, Oregon alternative newspaper article by Kate Willson and Nigel Jaquiss, "Terry Bean's Problem. A prominent Portlander fights for his reputation after a love affair goes wrong," posted Jun. 4, 2014 and my previous posts New gay ephebophile magazine by former XY editor (4/18/11) and Magnus Hirschfeld Book notes 37 to 39 - final post (11/2/10))

I first heard about Terry Bean's gay sex scandal, reported by Kate Willson and Nigel Jaquiss, "Terry Bean's Problem. A prominent Portlander fights for his reputation after a love affair goes wrong," posted Jun. 4, 2014, from the Portland KATU Channel 2 television news where the rightwing anchor Natalie Marnie tied it to the gay marriage political efforts in Oregon, even though it is unrelated. This anchor is shamefully part of a station owned by a devout Catholic family that has donated to anti-gay marriage politicians and political campaigns in the past. (For another example of this anchor reporting stories in an anti-gay manner, see my previous post Oregon gay marriage legal again after banned by Constitutional Amendment (5/20/14))

The KATU TV news story mentioned that Terry Bean is a wealthy Portland, Oregon citizen and University of Oregon graduate who donated much money to support gay political causes, including helping fund the first professional lobbying group in Washington, D.C. -- the Human Rights Campaign.

The TV news story did not mention the former Minnesota gay activist Steven Endean was the first paid lobbyist for the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, D.C. where he set the agenda of fighting for non-discrimination legislation and the repeal of anti-gay blue laws that were commonly used back then to discriminate against gay people. Endean was strongly opposed to the gay marriage activism in Minnesota of a former contemporary, Jack Baker, who he called a lunatic because he believed Baker would set a precedent that would harm HRC lobbying efforts. (See my previous post Gay Oregon Judge acknowledges validity of 1972 "Baker" gay marriage case by ruling it obsolete (5/31/14))

Both Bean and Endean were of the Stonewall generation who grew up during the free-love period of the late 1960's when both heterosexuals and homosexuals sought out multiple sex partners instead of marriage. The worst sexually transmitted diseases at the time were believed to be easily curable by modern medicine until the AIDS virus surfaced in the 1980's, which tragically killed Steve Endean and others who had engaged in bareback anal sex or injection drugs with shared needles. (AIDS infections were virtually unheard of in monogamous men and men who engaged exclusively in oral sex or who were exclusive tops during anal sex and who did not share needles.)

In the early days of gay liberation after the Stonewall riots in 1969, most gay activists wanted to fight for sexual freedom and they dismissed marriage as being an obsolete and sexist institution created by men to oppress women. They joined forces with many heterosexuals who were also fighting for sexual liberation and freedom from the restrictive blue laws that made all premarital sex illegal.

Tellingly, the Willamette Week article mentions Terry Bean's recent lack of participation in a celebration of gay marriage becoming legal in Oregon again: "On May 31, nearly 1,000 revelers turned up at Montgomery Park for a raucous victory celebration marking a federal judge's overturning of Oregon's ban on same-sex marriage. . . Terry Bean wasn't there." (Quoted from Kate Willson and Nigel Jaquiss, "Terry Bean's Problem. A prominent Portlander fights for his reputation after a love affair goes wrong," posted Jun. 4, 2014) Below are some more quotes from the article:

Bean grew up the scion of a powerful Portland family. His great-grandfather was an Oregon Supreme Court justice and later a federal judge. His grandfather, Ormond Bean, served 23 years as a Portland city commissioner. Bean himself was raised in Lake Oswego. He attended the University of Oregon on a golf scholarship, and returned to Portland and went to work at his father's firm, Bean Investment Real Estate. . .

The traditional trappings only went so far. Lawson claims that, as part of their relationship, Bean asked him to bring younger men to the West Hills house. He also says their relationship allowed them to have sex with other men, so long as the other approved. . .

On May 31, nearly 1,000 revelers turned up at Montgomery Park for a raucous victory celebration marking a federal judge's overturning of Oregon's ban on same-sex marriage.

Gay-rights pioneers, such as former Mayor Adams, raised their glasses to dozens of newly married gay couples.

In between music by the LoveBomb Go-Go Marching Band and DJ Zimmie, Gov. John Kitzhaber, U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and other leaders who have fought for decades for gay rights recognized the groups and individuals who'd made equality possible in Oregon.

Amid all the names called out, one was missing.

Terry Bean wasn't there.

(Quoted from Kate Willson and Nigel Jaquiss, "Terry Bean's Problem. A prominent Portlander fights for his reputation after a love affair goes wrong," posted Jun. 4, 2014)

Monday, June 2, 2014

OSU students on Jetsons, gay marriage and streaking in the 21st Century

PHOTO: front page of the official Oregon State University student newspaper featured the article by Tori Hittner, "Students 'just let go' during Undie Run 2014," OSU Barometer, Jun. 2, 2014 and the above photo by Justin Quinn. Also see the related student editorial by Editorial Board, "We need more legal crazy at Oregon State," OSU Barometer, Jun. 2, 2014.

Photo of OSU students streaking on Halloween night on the front page of The Barometer Nov. 3, 1975

PHOTO: OSU students streaking on Halloween night in 1975 as shown on the front page of the student newspaper The Barometer Nov. 3, 1975. (See previous post OSU naked streaking in 1975 vs. nearly naked run in 2011 (6/26/11))

By coincidence, in the same issue, as coverage of the undie run, was a serious onion piece on gay marriage by a student wondering how opposition to gay marriage can make any sense sense given the advances over the last few years: Cassie Ruud, "Attempt to appeal gay marriage ruling is idiotic," OSU Barometer, Jun. 2, 2014. (See previous posts Oregon gay marriage legal again after banned by Constitutional Amendment (5/20/14) and Gay Oregon Judge acknowledges validity of 1972 "Baker" gay marriage case by ruling it obsolete (5/31/14))

I find it interesting to see how the thinking of younger people shifts from their elders. Things that seemed impossible decades ago become expected and common place in the future.

I find this type of generational drift to be also true with technology. For example, a few days ago I watched the "Jetsons" cartoon on a TV special about the 60's (I had watched the Jetsons regularly as a starry eyed technology lover 50 years ago and dreamed about helping to invent this future) -- I noticed how much of the Jetsons' futuristic technology was now a reality 50 years later. By a strange coincidence, just a few days later, a similar observation was made in a student newspaper column by Brooklyn Di Raffaele, "Look out, Jetsons, we're only missing flying cars," OSU Barometer, Jun. 2, 104.

The future is always possible, despite those who want to stop it! Of course, on that optimistic note about the future, let me close by saying that as I get older, I better understand why older people often want to be misanthropic neo-Luddites because they are too tired to keep up with the changes in society. It is often easier to get set in your ways and oppose change than it is to embrace change for the benefit of everyone.