Portland Mayor refuses to commission USS Portland in Mississippi because of anti-gay laws

USS Portland (LPD 27) was launched at the Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., Feb. 13, 2016. (U.S. Navy/Huntington Ingalls Industries)

The Navy has announced that the commissioning of the USS Portland, which was scheduled for May in Mississippi, will now take place in Portland, in late 2017.

While the 25,000 ton ship will still go through a christening in Mississippi next month, thousands of people are expected to see the official commissioning in Portland.

“This will be a great time for all of Portland to show their pride and come out to welcome the sailors from the ship that will show our city’s name around the world,” Gary Piercy of the Navy League said.

The USS Portland was successfully launched in February. It’s the first Navy vessel to be named exclusively after Portland.  The ship, also known as the LPD (Landing Platform Dock) 27, is a “versatile player in maritime security, with the ability to support a variety of amphibious assault, special ops or expeditionary warfare missions.”

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales recently announced that he was cancelling his trip to Mississippi, for the christening of the new ship because he was “appalled” by the state’s anti-gay laws.

Charlie Hales in Portland in August 2011. (Steve Morgan/Wikipedia Commons)
Charlie Hales in Portland in August 2011. (Steve Morgan/Wikipedia Commons)

Hales told KATU2 he’d been looking forward to going to the Pascagoula Shipyard for the christening, but could not go through with it after the state passed the new religious freedom bill.

Hales believes the law discriminates against the LGBT community and is fundamentally wrong. His views are reportedly in line with the values of the people of Portland, the local station reported last week.

The  law signed by the Mississippi governor earlier this month “allows churches, religious charities and privately held businesses to decline services to people whose lifestyles violate their religious beliefs.”

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  • Michele graduated with a B.S. in Telecommunication from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. She has spent numerous years working in the news industry in south Florida, including many positions ranging from being a news writer at WSVN, the Fox affiliate in Miami to being an associate news producer at WPLG-TV, the ABC affiliate in Miami. Michele has also worked in Public Relations and Marketing.

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