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In the crosshairs of conscience: John Kitzhaber's death penalty reckoning

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To cope with his dread, John Kitzhaber opened his leather-bound journal and began to write.
It was a little past 9 on the morning of Nov. 22, 2011. Gary Haugen had dropped his appeals. A Marion County judge had signed the murderer's death warrant, leaving Kitzhaber, a former emergency room doctor, to decide Haugen's fate. The 49-year-old would soon die by lethal injection if the governor didn't intervene.
Kitzhaber was exhausted, having been unable to sleep the night before, but he needed to call the families of Haugen's victims.
"I know my decision will delay the closure they need and deserve," he wrote.
The son of University of Oregon English professors, Kitzhaber began writing each day in his journal in the early 1970s. The practice helped him organize his thoughts and, on that particular morning, gather his courage.
Kitzhaber first dialed the widow of David Polin, an inmate Haugen beat and stabbed to death in 2003 while already serving a life sentence fo…

Executed for Being Gay: 10 Places Where Being Gay Can Get You Killed

It’s crazy to think that today, in 2015, there are still places in the world where being gay could get you killed. Sure, we have a long way to go when it comes to equal rights, intolerance and acceptance — but being killed? How is that still possible?

Unfortunately, it’s a very scary reality for many LGBTQ people around the world.

YEMEN: If you’re a married man, and get caught having homosexual intercourse, you can be stoned to death. If you’re unmarried and get caught it’s a whipping and/or a year in prison. And for women — up to seven years in prison.

IRAN: Men caught engaging in homosexual sex can be killed. And it’s not just lip service: In July 2005, two teenagers were hanged, convicted of “homosexuality.”

IRAQ: There’s nothing in the law that calls out homosexuality specifically, but that hasn’t stopped militias and local judges from sentencing people to death anyway.

MAURITANIA: Gay Muslim men can face stoning, and gay Muslim women face imprisonment.

NIGERIA: Not only is it illegal for gay people to form clubs or groups, some states in Nigeria have also adopted the death penalty for gay men.

QATAR: Extramarital sex is punishable by death. And since same-sex marriage isn’t legal, that includes all homosexual sex.

SAUDI ARABIA: Lashes, imprisonment and stoning are acceptable punishments for “sodomy” and other homosexual acts.

SOMALIA: Imprisonment may be the law of the land, but that hasn’t stopped some states from enacting the death penalty.

SUDAN: Get caught once: Flogging. Twice: Imprisonment. Three times: Death penalty.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: There’s some confusion about what actually warrants the death penalty (consensual homosexual sex or just rape?), but all sex outside of marriage is banned.

Source: PRIDE, Dustin Diehl, January 14, 2016
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