Medford oregon lesbian

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Medford oregon lesbian

This is a town of grassy hills dotted with barns, a shopping mall where Sears is the big draw and a downtown, draped in winter frost and Christmas lights, five blocks long. No wonder legions of Californians have been driving in over the Siskiyous, plunking down their savings for a house or a small farm, and staying. It worked. The two women started a successful property management business and got elected Medford oregon lesbian the board of their church.

They gave lectures at the schools on lesbian lifestyles and appeared on TV on behalf of local Medford oregon lesbian rights causes. They slipped into a friendly network of gay men and lesbians from places like Los Angeles and San Francisco who had found that, like much of the rest of America, they wanted a safe and comfortable place in which to grow old. But in Medford, a postcard town suddenly forced to examine its own underbelly, there is much about the past weeks that has shaken what it imagined about itself. Although Robert James Acremant--the year-old suspect arrested Dec.

And Medford itself has had to come to terms with a growing intolerance toward homosexuality. The deaths of Ellis, 53, and Abdill, 42, come at a time when Oregon has narrowly defeated two statewide ballot measures prohibiting special legal protections for homosexuals--and conservative groups have launched new campaigns in Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

Medford and surrounding Jackson County are among the jurisdictions that approved local anti-gay rights ordinances inalthough the measures have since been tied up in court. Nationally, gay rights organizations say the move to limit legal protections for homosexuals has led to a surge in violence against gay men and lesbians.

Anti-gay murders have nearly doubled in the years since such initiatives emerged in Oregon, Colorado, Idaho and Maine, and a total of anti-gay murders were reported nationally from toaccording to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. At a memorial service for the two women last week, Lausmann declared Medford a hate-free city, and city leaders have launched a series of meetings with the community to determine what that will mean and how it can be implemented.

Medford oregon lesbian

Flags around the city were flown at half-staff last week. But this case has brought a lot of understanding between the gay community and the straight community. Ellis was divorced, with two children, but the two women realized that the bond of friendship between them was growing into something more, and they committed to each other as lifetime partners.

The two women quickly eased into the community, becoming outspoken activists in the fight against the two anti-gay rights initiatives in and They appeared on television and at fundamentalist Christian churches, bringing the message that biblical scripture does not condemn homosexuals.

Medford oregon lesbian

But they were eloquent one on one. When two friends were dying of AIDS last year, Abdill and Ellis went to their home daily, bringing meals, changing bedpans, adjusting IVs and working in the yard. Garland is another immigrant from Southern California--from Pomona. She said she has encountered a rising homophobic sentiment that has been part of the backdrop in Medford. A few years ago, she and her husband began getting anonymous calls about their son.

He was explaining to her how wonderful these women were and why we were grieving. Just undone. The Oregon Citizens Alliance, the powerful conservative group that sponsored the two anti-gay rights ballot initiatives and is collecting atures for a third, has said it has no connections to any violence against homosexuals. But director Lon Mabon said sentiment in Oregon is even stronger now in favor of legislation prohibiting special legal protections based on sexual orientation. Mike Moran. Police believe Ellis made contact with her killer at 11 a.

She failed to respond to frequent s from her daughter later in the day, and at 4 p. No one knows if the call came from Ellis or someone else. Later, Lorri drove over to the complex where her mother was going to be showing the apartment and saw the pickup, but said it pulled away from her as she tried to follow it. Neither woman was ever seen Medford oregon lesbian again. Police now believe Ellis was with the suspect all afternoon. There was nothing wrong with her car, they said. Police contacted authorities in Visalia, where Acremant had also lived earlier this year, and found he was also under investigation there in the Oct.

He was tracked down to a Stockton motel room a week ago and arrested. He told the newspaper that Medford oregon lesbian planned to get money from the property management firm by luring Abdill and Ellis to a vacant apartment. Could you imagine my grandma a lesbian with another woman? It crossed my mind a couple times, lesbo grandma, what a thing, huh? In a subsequent interview with the Oregonian, Acremant said there was a common thread to the killings of the two women and his friend, Scott George, who police believe Acremant shot before coming to Oregon. What was the act?

Authorities in Tulare County believe Acremant also burst into the home of a year-old family friend there the day before his arrest last week, handcuffing her, holding her at gunpoint and demanding money.

Medford oregon lesbian

We know the killer wanted both victims. We know that money and credit cards were left at the scene. Chief Deputy Dist. John Bondurant said he is less inclined than he was to consider the killings a hate crime. But he also said he does not believe the intent was simply a robbery. There were purses, wallets, jewelry, cell phones and money that was not taken. So that to me does not point to a robbery. The arrest, meanwhile, has done little to ease the fears of lesbians in Medford, who wonder whether the small town haven they longed for is as safe as they believed.

Robert Bray, spokesman for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in San Francisco and a friend of Abdill and Ellis, said the case reflects the kind of problems typical in conservative small towns. All Sections. About Us. B2B Publishing. Business Visionaries.

Medford oregon lesbian

Hot Property. Times Events. Times Store. Facebook Twitter Show more sharing options Share Close extra sharing options. No Place to Rest : They wanted the charm--and the security--of life in a small town. But it all went tragically wrong for Roxanne Ellis and Michelle Abdill, killed, perhaps, because they were in love.

Medford oregon lesbian

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Murder of Roxanne Ellis and Michelle Abdill