Thursday, February 7, 2013

Around The Nation

Minnesota Governor Calls For Same-Sex Marriage Legislation This Year
SAINT PAUL, MN -- Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton called on the state's lawmakers to put forward legislation that would legalise same-sex marriages. Delivering the annual State Of The State address Wednesday, Dayton told legislators;
"Let me mention one other cause, which is controversial, but consistent with my faith and my principles. And, more importantly, consistent with this country’s founding principles and its Constitution. I believe that every Minnesotan should have the freedom to marry legally the person she or he loves, whether of the same or other sex. 
Last year, Minnesotans began a conversation about why marriage matters, and we found our common belief that it is about love, commitment, and responsibility. I want Minnesota to be a state, which affirms that freedom for one means freedom for everyone, and where no one is told it is illegal to marry the person you love." 
Minneapolis State Senator Scott Dribble, whom analysts and political pundits in the sate's capital have predicted will lead the effort for same-sex marriage in the state legislature this session, issued a statement immediately after the governor's address stating that his priority was the budget also acknowledged to reporters that the Governor's taking the lead on the issue will prove to be a deciding factor this session.
"It shows his willingness to lead on this issue, and spend some political capital," Dibble said. "I think it gives (wavering) legislators space as they make their decisions to do the right thing." 
"The state budget and our economy are the focus at the start of this session, as they should be," the statement read. "There is also room at the right time to have this conversation, which, consistent with everything else the legislature is working on, is really all about helping families do well.”
Anti-gay group, the Minnesota Family Council, has sent its Facebook followers and email newsletter subscribers, messages urging them to to lobby their legislators against legalizing same-sex marriage;
"Minnesotans inherently understand that marriage is more than a government love license," Autumn Leva, a spokeswoman for Minnesota for Marriage, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "Authentic marriage is really about a personal promise with a public purpose that benefits everyone, especially kids, parents and our state's economy."
A proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage in Minnesota as between one man and one woman, was defeated last fall with 52.9 percent of Minnesota voters rejected a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, while 47.1 percent voted in favor of the amendment.

Students & Friends Gather To Remember Jadin Bell: Family Announces New Foundation To Prevent Bullying
LA GRANDE, OR -- Joe Bell, the father of the gay La Grande teenager who died Sunday in a Portland hospital from his injuries- a week after being removed from life support after he attempted suicide January 19- speaking before a crowd of roughly 200 people Wednesday that he had loved his son and accepted him for who he was. 
"I think we need more of that," said Joe Bell, whose 15-year-old son, Jadin, had been bullied before trying to take his life.  
"I don't want Jadin's death to be in vain," Bell said in a voice choking with emotion. "I want it to stand for something. I think we need to look at people for who they are and not who we think they should be."
Bell's remarks ended the family's silence appearing at an evening assembly at Eastern Oregon University to announce the  launch of a nonprofit foundation against bullying called Faces for Change. Bell remained silent on the forces that motivated his son to hang himself, but family friend Bud Hill who has been acting as a spokesperson noted that  that Jadin and his father had gone to a school counselor the week before to report that he'd been bullied.
Neither family members nor school district Superintendent Larry Glaze have disclosed whether the bullying was physical or online. Nobody has confirmed whether it triggered Jadin's suicide.
"I don't know that anybody knows what was really in his head," said Hill, adding that he wasn't surprised Jadin would be bullied, given that he was openly gay in a rural northeastern Oregon community.
In a separate memorial service held Tuesday evening at the high school Jadin Bell attended, close to 300 people, many of whom were LHS students, remembered the 15 year old Bell as a person who never missed an opportunity to extend a kind word to others.
Bell was remembered for his ever-present smile, charming personality and ability to brighten the day of seemingly everyone he met, according to LHS science teacher Brandon Galvez.
“Jadin’s greatest motivation was to see the people around him laugh and smile,” Galvez said. “Jadin himself was always smiling and it is  difficult for me to imagine him not smiling.”  
Galvez said Bell kept classes lively with great stories and that on many occasions Galvez had to rein in Bell’s stories because he wanted to keep his class focused.  
“Now more than ever I wish I had the opportunity to go back and change my mind,” Galvez said. “The emptiness that Jadin’s death has left shows just how big and beautiful his personality was.”  
Educators in the district have been working before the Jadin Bell tragedy to reduce bullying. Programs have been in place in the school district to address bullying for years at all of the district’s schools.
“We have been actively engaged in trying to prevent bullying for some time,” said La Grande School District Superintendent Larry Glaze. “This is not new.”
The superintendent believes that bullying is pervasive throughout schools in the United States.
“It is a societal problem. We are not immune to the issues of hazing or bullying,” Glaze  said. “We don’t think we are alone in this challenge.”
Glaze added that the district wants to be a partner with the new foundation to circulate the anti-bullying message. "We want to be a player and come out of this better than we went in," he said.
Editor's Notes:
The foundation may be contacted at 
A memorial service for Jadin Bell will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 8, at the Lighthouse Church, 10501 W. First Ave., Island City.
A Jadin R.J. Bell Memorial Fund has been established at Sterling Bank to help his parents offset bills for his week at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland.