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Appeals Court rules in favor of nonbinary legal designations

EUGENE (AP) — The Oregon Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of a Eugene resident’s right to a nonbinary gender marker.

Jones Hollister’s gender is nonbinary, but their petition for a nonbinary gender marker was denied by Lane County Circuit Court Judge Charles D. Carlson last year.

The Appeals Court ruled Wednesday that the circuit court erred in concluding that it lacked authority under state law to approve Hollister's application for a legal change of sex from female to nonbinary.

“I’m thrilled for not just myself but for all nonbinary Oregonians,” Hollister said in a news release sent by the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, which filed a brief in support of Hollister's appeal. "When I saw that the Court of Appeals had reversed the decision to refuse me a nonbinary marker, I honestly cried.”

Groups supporting Hollister in the appeal including the ACLU and Basic Rights Oregon had argued precedent had been set in other cases across Oregon to allow people to legally change their sex designation to nonbinary. State Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum was among others who had filed briefs in support.

Lorena Reynolds, Hollister’s attorney, told The Oregonian/OregonLive the ruling is the “first state court of appeals decision on this in the country.”

In 2017, Oregon became the first state in the country to allow residents to identify as nonbinary on their driver licenses and state identity cards.

County candidate confesses to writing racist letter

HERMISTON (AP) — A recent candidate for Umatilla County commissioner, who claimed he received an anonymous racist letter last month, admitted to police he was the one who wrote it, the East Oregonian reported.

Jonathan Lopez, who is Latino, said he had found a letter addressed to him which contained racist and derogatory slurs in his mailbox on June 23. He posted a photo of the typed letter to Facebook, which was shared hundreds of times within 24 hours. The post has since been removed.

However, when police followed up with Lopez about the incident on July 3, authorities say Lopez confessed to writing the letter.

“The time spent on this fictitious claim means time lost on other matters, not to mention it needlessly adds to the incredible tension that exists in our nation today,” Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston told the newspaper.

Edmiston said the case would be forwarded to the Umatilla County District Attorney’s office for review for initiating a false report, a Class A misdemeanor in Oregon.

Lopez lost a primary election for a seat on the Umatilla County Board of Commissioners in May 2020.

Attempts by The Associated Press to reach Lopez were not successful. He told the East Oregonian that he meant to speak with Edmiston about racism in Umatilla County and use the letter as an example of the type of racism people experience.

“I never meant to file a report, it just kind of spiraled out,” he said. He also said he “never meant to mislead” the public.