What’s Brewing: Vigil honors gay hate crime victim in Austin; Obama for same-sex marriage?

Posted on 22 Apr 2011 at 7:37am

Norma Hurtado

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. More than 100 people attended a vigil in Austin on Thursday night for 24-year-old Norma Hurtado, who was murdered by her girlfriend’s father Monday in an anti-gay hate crime (video above). The vigil was organized by OutYouth, Austin’s LGBT youth organization. Jose Alfonso Aviles, 45, is charged with capital murder in the shooting deaths of Norma Hurtado and her mother, 57-year-old Maria Hurtado. Authorities say Aviles committed the crime because he was upset that Norma Hurtado was in a lesbian relationship with his 18-year-old daughter. Police have identified a second suspect who was with Aviles at the time of the shootings, but he has not been charged and his name is being withheld while authorities try to determine his role. Some LGBT advocates are calling for the case against Aviles to be prosecuted as an anti-gay hate crime, even though Texas law wouldn’t provide enhanced penalties since the offense is already a capital felony. We’d say it would be counterproductive to prosecute the case as a hate crime if it makes it more difficult to convict Aviles, but the Austin Police Department should certainly report the incident as a hate crime to the FBI, which the department apparently has not.

2. A state district judge in Montana has ruled against six gay couples who filed a lawsuit seeking rights similar to marriage. The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented the gay couples, says it will appeal to the Montana Supreme Court.

3. This may be the closest President Barack Obama has come to publicly admitting that he supports marriage equality — at least since he actually said it on a candidate survey in 1996. In the video below from a DNC fundraiser Monday night in San Francisco, Obama says during his speech that, “Our work is not finished.” Then someone in the crowd yells, “Gay marriage.” Obama pauses, then appears to respond by repeating, “Our work is not finished,” as if to indicate that the audience member had just illustrated his point.

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