10-25-2020  7:54 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Candidate Iannarone Welcomes Ruling on Complaint Against Mayor Wheeler

Mayoral challenger Sarah Iannarone has welcomed the Multnomah County Circuit court ruling requiring City Auditor Mary Hull Caballero to look into a complaint against Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler for loaning his own re-election campaign 0,000

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The global surge in coronavirus infections is hitting the United States hard and overwhelming hospitals across the nation

Report: Seattle Officers Used Excessive Force at Protests

Since May, the office has received 19,000 complaints about police misconduct during protests.

PSU’s Black Studies Department Grows, Offers Students Immediate Support

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NEWS BRIEFS

How Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard got its Name

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Thursday, October 22: All Registered Voters Should Have Received Their Ballots

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Forest Service Now Hiring

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Crews vacuum 'murder hornets' out of Washington nest

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Roseburg VA police officer accused of placing hidden cameras

ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) — A Roseburg man who works as a police officer at a Veterans Affairs hospital has been accused of hiding cameras in the bedroom of a young teen. Detectives began investigating after the cameras were found in the 14-year-old’s bedroom, the Douglas County...

Missouri grinds out 1st victory over Kentucky in five years

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri kept handing the ball to Larry Rountree, and Kentucky barely got a chance to take a turn. Rountree carried 37 times for 126 yards and two touchdowns as the Tigers dominated the clock and the Wildcats in a 20-10 victory on Saturday.Missouri (2-2 Southeastern...

Humbled LSU eyeing QB contingency vs surging South Carolina

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — LSU coach Ed Orgeron was grateful for an extra week to help the Tigers confront considerable challenges on both sides of the ball.He’ll have to hope that’s enough time for the unranked Tigers (1-2, 1-2 SEC) to turn back South Carolina (2-2, 2-2), which...

OPINION

The Skanner News National 2020 Election Endorsements

Vote like your life depends on it. Read The Skanner News' endorsements for US President, and more ...

The Skanner News Statewide Election 2020 Endorsements

Read The Skanner News' endorsements for Portland Mayor, Portland City Council, and more ...

Muslim Advocates Denounces Trump’s Racist Attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar and Refugees

The organization says Trump’s attacks invite violence against Rep. Omar and Minnesota’s Somali community ...

Trump and the Lost Country

Discussing the debate, Robert Koehler refers to an article by psychiatrists describing how power causes brain damage ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Minority communities question election-year push by EPA

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Theresa Landrum lives in southwest Detroit, where residents complain frequently about dirty air. Tree-shaded neighborhoods with schools, churches and parks lie on either side of an interstate highway and in the shadow of a sprawling oil refinery that belches soot...

Black woman shot by officer seeks justice from hospital bed

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) — A Black woman who was shot and wounded inside a vehicle by a police officer who also fatally shot her 19-year-old boyfriend on Satuday told about 200 people gathered at an emotional rally in suburban Chicago that she's fighting “to be strong" for her son. The...

Attack, then pandemic: Pittsburgh Jewish congregations cope

Two years ago, the three congregations sharing space at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue relocated after an anti-Semitic gunman killed 11 worshippers. Last March, the congregations dispersed from their new locations due to the coronavirus pandemic and switched to virtual services. On...

ENTERTAINMENT

Kevin Hart: Hosting MDA telethon is a 'major level-up'

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Sandra Oh celebrates Asian culture in film 'Over the Moon'

NEW YORK (AP) — Sandra Oh’s role in the new animated feature “Over the Moon” may not be her largest, but it has deep meaning.The story is set in China and Oh voices the stepmother of a girl named Fei Fei, grieving after the loss of her mother. So she builds a rocket to...

Film depicts Black Lives Matter, #MeToo as new feminist wave

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The documentary genre’s power of immediacy is evident in “Not Done: Women Remaking America," which includes the still-unfolding possibility of the first Black female vice president and the loss of Breonna Taylor.The film depicts a powerful female-driven...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Stumbling stunner! Rays shock Dodgers in 9th, tie Series 2-2

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Virus is pummeling Europe's eateries — and winter is coming

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For transgender activists, election stokes hopes and fears

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Polish women bring abortion restriction protests to churches

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Lee Kun-Hee, force behind Samsung’s rise, dies at 78

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Afghanistan claims killing an al-Qaida leader wanted by FBI

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Vote like your life depends on it
By Greg Botelho CNN


Edith Windsor, who filed the original case that could upend the Defense of Marriage Act, says just getting the case to this point is a kind of victory.

"We've made a huge step forward and a huge difference in how people look at us," she said. "And so, it'll happen. Another year if not now."

It was the death of Windsor's life partner, Thea Clara Spyer, that led to the case.

Theirs was not a fleeting romance -- the women were together 42 years sharing ups and downs, laughs and tears. They also shared what they'd earned together, including from Windsor's job as a programmer with IBM and Spyer's work as a psychologist.

"We were mildly affluent and extremely happy," Windsor said. "We were like most couples."

But even after they married in 2007 in Toronto, some 40 years into their courtship, the two women were not "like most couples" in the eyes of the state of New York, where they lived, nor in the eyes of the U.S. government, which under the Defense of Marriage Act mandates that a spouse, as legally defined, must be a person of the opposite sex.

This fact hit Windsor hard in 2009, while in a hospital after suffering a heart attack a month after Spyer's death. As she recovered and mourned, Windsor realized she faced a hefty bill for inheritance taxes -- $363,053 more than was warranted, she later claimed in court -- because Spyer was, in legal terms, little more than a friend.

"It was incredible indignation," Windsor recalled feeling. "Just the numbers were so cruel."

This anger gave way to action. Why, she and her lawyers argued, should her relationship with Spyer be any different when it came to rights, taxes and more than a heterosexual couple? Why should Windsor have to pay, literally, for losing her soulmate -- even though, by 2009, New York courts had recognized that "foreign same-sex marriages" should be recognized in the state as valid?

In October, Windsor, now 83, got an answer in the form of a ruling opinion from the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. That court found, in her favor, that the Defense of Marriage Act violates the Constitution's equal protection clause and thus she shouldn't have had to pay an inheritance tax after her partner's death. This follows a similar ruling, in May, from another federal appeals court in Boston.

Neither opinion settles the matter for good. That is expected to happen next year when the Supreme Court will weigh the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act through the prism of Windsor and Spyer's story. It is one of two cases related to same-sex marriage that the high court will consider, it announced Friday. The other addresses California's Proposition 8.

Even with those cases still to be decided, Windsor said earlier this fall -- when the lower court decided in her favor, three years after Spyer's death -- that she felt she could finally breathe and celebrate.

It was a day she relished, and one she didn't entirely expect after all her heartache.

"What I'm feeling is elated," Windsor said. "Did I ever think it could come to be, altogether? ... Not a chance in hell."

Instant chemistry in Greenwich Village

Born in Philadelphia in 1929, on the eve of the Great Depression, Windsor graduated from Temple University and earned a master's degree, in 1957, from New York University, according to a fall 2011 story in the latter school's alumni magazine.

She had come to New York hoping for a fresh start after a brief marriage, according to the report. And professionally, she found it -- working for NYU's math department and soon entering data into its UNIVAC, one of a few dozen of the huge commercial computers then in operation. Her knack for programming eventually helped her land a job, and to excel, at IBM.

But something was missing in her life, personally.

Or, as Windsor put it more succinctly, "I suddenly couldn't take it anymore."

In the documentary "Edie and Thea: A Very Long Engagement," she recalled pleading with an old friend to take her "where the lesbians go." And so Windsor spent one Friday night at Portofino, a restaurant in New York's Greenwich Village.

"Somebody brought Thea over and introduced her. And we ended up dancing," she recalled.

"And we immediately just fit," added Spyer, on the documentary.

After reuniting two years later, according to their New York Times' wedding announcement, their connection proved deep and lasting. In 1967, Spyer proposed marriage with a round diamond pin. A year later, they purchased a house together in Southampton, according to the NYU Alumni Magazine story.

Yet while the gay rights' movement took off after the 1969 Stonewall Riots, which occurred while Windsor and Spyer were vacationing in Italy, an actual marriage -- a legal union -- seemed out of the question.

Marriage, at last, and then heartache

Regardless, their love remained strong.

On the documentary, filmed around 2007, Spyer said, "Each one of us, in fact, looks different from how we looked when we met. But if I look at Edie now, she looks exactly the same to me. Exactly the same."

Windsor had halted her new career as a gay rights activist to help care for her partner, who suffered from multiple sclerosis. And it was after getting a "bad prognosis (that) I had another year to live and that was it" that Spyer proposed again.

"And I said yes," Windsor recalled. "She said, 'So do I.' "

Video shows Spyer being pushed through the airport in her wheelchair. It was from that seat -- on May 22, 2007, at Toronto's Sheraton Gateway Hotel -- that she gave her vows to make their marriage official in Canada.

"I, Thea Spyer, choose you, Edith Windsor, to be my lawful, wedded spouse," she said. "For richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part."

Having happily gone four decades without, Windsor soon realized how much the marriage meant to her. It made her and Spyer's love legitimate and all the more real.

"It's different because somewhere you're a hidden person, and suddenly you're a citizen of the world," she said in October.

But what happened as Spyer's condition worsened, and after her death, proved a stark reminder they were not legally united in their own country. And the fact that New York legalized same-sex marriage in 2011 didn't mean that Windsor, for example, would suddenly get back the hundreds of thousands of dollars in inheritance tax that she'd given to the government.

That could happen, however, if the Supreme Court upholds the appeals court ruling. That is Windsor's hope, as is that whether a committed couple is heterosexual or homosexual becomes irrelevant within the next decade.

In the meantime, Windsor said she's proud to fight for something bigger than herself and the legitimacy of her union with Spyer. She hopes, through her struggle, to help make it so gay teenagers can "fall in love knowing there's a future," that children of gay couples won't feel the need to explain their families, and that homophobia becomes a thing of the past.

"I feel like I'm representing them."

 

Mingus Mapps 2020
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