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Oregon: Not out of the anti-gay woods yet

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

And let me tell you, the anti-gay woods are a very dark and scary place.

So we've all heard now that Oregon's Tennessee's Arizona's... Let's try this again. Ech hem.

So we've all heard that out-of-state (though parading around as Oregonians) anti-gay groups have called it quits on attempts to repeal Oregon's Domestic Partnership and Anti-Discrimination laws. Obviously great news as no one was looking forward to another six million dollar ballot measure campaign, the bad news great news is that they're bringing it back for a 2010 ballot initiative. And to be clear, I would never welcome a ballot measure campaign, but given that repeated polling indicates that the majority of Oregonian's honestly don't give a shit about committed gay and lesbian couples getting domestic partnered and also indicates that Oregon's overwhelmingly support Oregon's anti-discrimination law, bring it on.

Because if Oregonian's care little about repealing our Domestic Partnership law now, in 2010 these out-of-state religious zealots will be viewed as an even more hostile threat to our society than even now. So bring it.

The Actual Bad News
The one thing that could come to bite us in the ass very soon is the Lemons v. Bradbury case. Pro-equality Oregonians won the first battle, but the Arizona based 'Alliance Defense Fund' has appealed and it will now be heard by a three judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Oral arguments will be heard in Portland on the morning of Tuesday, July 8. It's simply just another round in the legal battle, though if lost, could have serious consequences by putting at least of of these laws on the ballot in November 2008.

Lemons v. Bradbury was brought on by the 'Alliance Defense Fund' late last year after attempts to put the DP and AD laws on the ballot. They failed at collecting enough signatures after making their way through the verification process. For more on Lemons v. Bradbury visit Basic Rights Oregon's site here.

That's all for now folks.

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BREAKING: Oregon Anti-Gays Admit Possible Failure

Sunday, April 27, 2008

After failing on their first attempt to overturn Oregon's Anti-Discrimination and Domestic Partnership laws, Oregon's anti-gays (who actually live in Tennessee) have admitted possible failure. More importantly they are claiming a possible failure on IP 146 which is Oregon's Domestic Partnership law. This means that Oregon's Anti-Discrimination law would be the only one on the ballot come November if they can muster up the signatures for it.

I have to question their logic. Have they not done polling? Quite obviously they haven't - as multiple polls indicate a record number of Oregonians support this anti-discrimination law.

For more background on the whole debacle, see our post from yesterday (here & here). I highly recommend reading it as it explains all the background details.

In an email to supporters, David Crowe from "Restore America" said the following:

Initiative 144 is legally flawed and apparently beyond use. Now corrected, it has been refiled by Marylin Shannon, as Initiative 146.

The process described above is underway on 146, and it may well be too late to get to the people for signature and then to the Elections Division by the deadline, which is July 3rd.

The likelihood is that we will have just enough time to get enough signatures for 145 on the ballot, but not 146.


Again, they need about 83,000 signatures to qualify - meaning they need to shoot for well over 100,000 to actually make it unless they have an incredibly clean list without many mistakes.

If they do make it even just an attempt to repeal the anti-discrimination law then I predict a very nasty campaign from their side, the likes of which we haven't seen since the days of Lon Mabon. At the same time I do wonder how they will finance their anti-gay crusade. It could easily cost millions if history is correct. Back in 2004 Basic Rights Oregon spent roughly 3 million dollars to fight Measure 36 and the opposition group is struggling to even get $25,000 and they are almost 7k in the hole.

Oy vey. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday folks.

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Oregon Anti-Gays Doomed For Failure

Friday, April 25, 2008

Could it be? Shall we plan celebration parties already? Well not quite yet - but on the heels of Basic Rights Oregon appealing (to the Oregon Supreme Court) the language of two initiatives (IP 144 & IP 145) that would aim to repeal Oregon's newly enacted Domestic Partnership and Anti-Discrimination laws, and the possibility of the same thing happening to the third filed by anti-gays... they may be up shit creek.

Yesterday we talked about the group "Concerned Oregonians" who actually happens to be led by David Crowe who now resides in Tennessee. Make of that what you will. In any case - their desperate pleas for tens of thousands of dollars, even if answered, would still leave their anti-gay crusade in limbo. And funny enough currently it looks as though they are in debt.

Giving credit where credit is due.
Basic Rights Oregon has proven once again that it will relentlessly fight these initiative attempts to strip families of their basic rights as citizens of this state. Thanks BRO! (ech hem - donate here)

Credit should also be given to everyday Oregonians. Oregonian's don't see this as a Measure 36 - and rightly so. They see this simply for what it is, workplace protections against blatant discrimination and as I said above, the ability to legally provide and care for your family.

No victory dance yet folks.
Again, lets not get our hope up too high. But come July when anti-gay forces must turn in over 83,000 valid signatures to qualify and they can't do it - I'll be the first cracking open that bottle of bubbly.

Counting down the days.
Just think, each and every day that this bigoted attempt to strip Oregon families and individuals of their basic human rights is delayed, that's just another day these folks cannot gather signatures.

Related:
Appeal to Oregon Supreme Court Sparks Delay in Anti-Gay Plans

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Appeal to Oregon Supreme Court Sparks Delay in Anti-Gay Plans

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Basic Rights Oregon delivered today. They're taking the fight to the Oregon Supreme Court. Just Out is reporting that BRO may in fact be holding up the anti-gay initiatives by appealing to the OSC.

Via JustOut:

Basic Rights Oregon's legal representation - Margaret Olney, of Smith, Diamond and Olney, representing BRO's Jeana Frazzini and Frank Dixon - have just filed appeals to the state Supreme Court regarding Attorney General Hardy Myers' certified ballot titles for Initiatives 144 and 145, initiatives designed to repeal the Oregon Family Fairness Act and the Oregon Equality Act, respectively, according to documents obtained from the Secretary of State Elections Divisions Office.

According to state Elections Division compliance specialist Summer Davis, the Supreme Court could take "up to several months" to deliver an opinion on the appeals," depending on what other items "are on the Court's plate," though state law charges the Court to address the appeals "in an expeditious manner," although, she added: "Expeditious is not defined."

This could prove to be a major setback for Concerned Oregonians, the umbrella group organizing behind the repeal initiatives. In a recent email to supporters, the organization had said it was anticipating having petitions "printed and delivered to distribution sites hopefully by April 26th," though the current Supreme Court appeals could set their efforts back at least several weeks' time, if not longer - as petitions cannot be circulated until the Supreme Court's final judgment is delivered. Locations of potential petition distribution sites and self-described "collection goals" are posted on the Concerned Oregonians website.

Davis also said the Court was not required to take into consideration in its decision the final deadline by which the initiatives' sponsors were required to turn in their signatures: the deadline (82,769 valid signatures are required) is 5 pm on Thursday, July 3. “They’re under no obligation to issue their opinion or final judgment based on when signatures are due," Davis said.


And in other news Amy Ruiz at the PDX Mercury had this to say on the anti-gay group "Concerned Oregonians" lack of funding. It sure seems like they have bigger concerns than just stripping away the rights of families. They have no money. I have to question how far they will get if they were to get on the ballot. It's going to be a multi-million dollar campaign and they are begging and pleading for a mere $50k?

The campaign to repeal Oregon's new domestic partnership and anti-discrimination laws is in bigger trouble than I thought. For starters, though the groups involved only have until early July to gather up tens of thousands of signatures on each of the two initiatives, they haven't been cleared to start collecting signatures yet. Clock's ticking, as they say.

[...]

Yep, the sky is falling in Concerned Oregon. It takes a lot of cash to fund a statewide signature gathering campaign, and they've only collected $4,385.00. The Concerned Oregonians PAC-which, according to their filing, exists to oppose the land use Measure 49-has $517.06 in the bank as of this writing, but enough outstanding accounts payable to put them in the hole by $6,191.70.

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Detroit City Council Votes to Ban Trans Discrimination

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

After 17 years of trying, Detroit has become the latest city to ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity. City council voted 8-1 to amend the city's nondiscrimination ordinance which already bars discrimination against lesbians and gays.

City Council President Kenneth Cockrel, Jr. said, "The practices and policies of the City of Detroit should promote a public confidence in the fairness and equal treatment of any and all human beings."

via 365gay

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These Four People Hate You and Your Neighbors

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

And sadly they are letting all of Oregon down by attempting to crush the Oregon dream for the minority. These four desperate Oregon Republican lawmakers are trying to repeal Oregon's Domestic Partnership and Anti-Discrimination laws.

Here are their pretty little faces.

Signed on to attempt to repeal Oregon's Anti-Discrimination law:

Oregon Senator Gary George
Oregon Senator Gary George

Oregon State Representative Kim Thatcher
Oregon Representative Kim Thatcher

Signed on to repeal Oregon's Domestic Partnership law:

Oregon State Senator Sal Esquivel
Oregon State Senator Sal Esquivel

Oregon State Senator Fred Girod
Oregon Senator Fred Girod

Oregon's already decrepit Republican Party who owes over $265,000 in debts including the IRS for back taxes - stoops to another low. With their sad IRS news hitting newspapers within recent weeks - maybe they saw this as a good time to shift the focus on the gays again. Those damn gays.

More details coming soon.

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California Anti-Gays Lose

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A conservative Christian group has failed to collect enough signatures to force a vote to repeal a California law protecting students from discrimination, harassment and bullying in publicly-funded schools.

But a legal challenge to the law is still before the courts.

Save Our Kids, the organization that spearheaded the referendum effort says it collected over 350,000 signatures to overturn the law - far short of the required 434,000 signatures that had to be turned in on Friday.

The Student Civil Rights Act, passed and signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last year, mandates that teachers and school administrators fully understand their responsibilities to protect LGBT youth.

Various California laws have prohibited discrimination in public education on the basis of sexual orientation, gender, religion, race, disability and gender for a number of years.

But in some instances school administrators have been unclear about all the laws and what they need to do to fight bullying. The Student Civil Rights Act updated the existing Education Code to bring all the discrimination laws under one section.

Opponents of the law have claimed it will force schools to "promote homosexuality" and to "persecute Christians who oppose homosexuality".

"Opponents of SB 777 have been spreading misinformation and outright lies for months, and whether they actually collected 350,000 signatures, we will never know," said Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors.

"What is clear is that they failed. Despite their vicious attack, Californians stood with us and said 'no' to turning back the clock on civil rights and protecting all youth from discrimination in our schools."

via 365 Gay

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Squashed: The Hope and Dreams of Oregon Families

Friday, December 28, 2007

We've got more information on the ruling out of the Multnomah County Federal Court surrounding Oregon's new Domestic Partnership law. It's sort of a wrap up on the events of the day. Don't let the title of this post fool you, the fight is far from over. Read on for the whole story - but first! This just in! My mother emailed me as she received the email in California from Basic Rights Oregon about the ruling. This is what she had to say (and yes, this is all):

The delay of the partnership law really makes me ill - that some evil idiot sicko could get this law stopped... So not right.

Thoughts,
Mom


How can you not love my mother?!

Additional information from Just Out's Julie Sabatier who was in the courtroom today:
Judge Mosman presided over the preliminary injunction hearing today on the 16thfloor of the Federal Courthouse in downtown Portland. He made it clear at the outset that he thought the case depended heavily on whether or not the plaintiffs could demonstrate that the signing of a petition utilizes the same fundamental right as the signing of a ballot. Mosman pointed out that he had not seen any case law in the briefing materials that clearly argued this point. "I'd be tentatively inclined not to find a fundamental right where none has been found before," he said. Then, the lawyers for the plaintiffs pulled out some case law that hadn't been in the original brief. It was a ruling by the 9th Circuit Court in Idaho that they argued basically defined the signing of a referendum petition as a fundamental right. There was a brief recess to consider this new bit of information.

When the session resumed, the judge heard arguments for and against the fundamental rights issue and eventually decided that the case did, in fact, involve a fundamental right. Therefore, the plaintiffs had shown that they had a strong possibility of prevailing on the merits of their case. Judge Mosman also ruled that any denial of a fundamental right is equal to irreparable harm. Thus, he said, he was obligated to put a temporary injunction in place until Feb. 1, when he will hold a hearing on a permanent injunction, which will essentially be a hearing on the merits of the case.


And finally, we normally wouldn't post an entire email from someone, but in this case it is different. The following comes from Jeana Frazzini, Executive Director of Basic Rights Oregon:
I couldn't have been more shocked and saddened when, sitting in the courtroom today, I heard Judge Mosman announce that he was temporarily delaying the implementation of Oregon's domestic partnership law.

This decision is nothing short of an outrage. As Basic Rights Oregon argued in our amicus brief to the court, this delay tactic results in very real harm to countless Oregonians and their families, and is absolutely unnecessary.

The suit, brought by right-wing, out of state interest groups The Alliance Defense Fund and Restore America is an eleventh hour effort to keep gay and lesbian Oregonians from critical and necessary rights, and it is shameful.

The suit was brought against the State of Oregon and Secretary of State Bill Bradbury, who oversees Oregon's elections. Since BRO was not named as a party to this lawsuit, it was the State's attorney who argued the case in court. Nevertheless, we hired the top election attorney in the state to craft our "friend of the court" brief. In this brief, we explained in both legal and personal terms why it was absolutely critical that this law go into effect on January 1st.

But Judge Mosman grossly underestimated the harm that will be done to Oregon families. The law will not go into effect, at least until the next hearing which is scheduled for February 1st.

Moving forward, Basic Rights Oregon is conferring with our attorney about how we can become even more aggressively involved in the case. And we need YOU - our supporters - involved now more than ever.

But we must take action to ensure our domestic partnership law is not lost. Join BRO vigils in Ashland, Portland, Bend, Corvallis and Eugene on the evening of January 2nd - the day we should have been celebrating the beginning of domestic partnerships. Details are below.
In solidarity,

Jeana Frazzini
Executive Director, Basic Rights Oregon


TWO THINGS THAT YOU CAN DO POST RULING:

1.) Give and give big to Basic Rights Oregon who will not rest until this fight is over and we are victorious. Click here to donate to BRO now.

3.) NEVER forget that after 34 years and 17 consecutive legislative sessions of trying, Oregon passed and signed into law a comprehensive Anti-Discrimination law that will still go into effect on January 1, 2008.


- Bryan Boyd

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Contribution and Expenditure Reports From Oregon Anti-Gays

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

So the truth is in and voter fraud has occurred by Oregon's anti-gay extremists. See part one of this story for the reasons.

Here are the groups and individuals who gave money ($100 or more) to assist and force a public vote on Oregon's Domestic Partnership and Anti-Discrimination laws. Believe it or not this is all that is shown on the contribution and expenditure reports. we're leaving out those personally involved in the Chief Petitioners PAC's.

Anti-Discrimination Referendum (#304):

World Harvest Church: $779.00
120 SE 172nd Ave
Portland, Oregon 97233

Concerned Oregonians (aka Restore America): $4922.01

Vicki Lynn Davis: $300
4240 SW Parkview Ave.
Portland, OR 97233

Kevin Mannix: $400
About Kevin Mannix - Republican, twice failed candidate for Oregon Attorney General and twice failed candidate for governor. Currently Mannix spends a large amount of his time in corrupt politics - mainly shady ballot initiatives, he is also an attorney in Salem.

Also for #304 there were "Miscellaneous cash contributions of $100 or less: $1211.00", meaning individual donors.


Domestic Partnership Referendum (#303):

Concerned Oregonians (aka Restore America): $4922.02

Kevin Mannix: $352.92


I know this is a bit shocking - but they had nearly no contributions. To me this again goes to show that Oregonians simply aren't that into the politics of hate and fear.

See the full reports here (#303, #304).

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Oregon Anti-Gay Truth is Out: Contributions and Expenditure Report

First let me just say, we've got some elections fraud on our hands. With the tens of thousands of dollars that David Crowe at 'Restore America' claimed to have received in donations that were meant for their political action committee (PAC) that in fact never was legally a PAC - other than the fact that he started a corporation called "Concerned Oregonians PAC".

A quickie in Oregon politics: you can call yourself a PAC all day - but at the end of the day if you haven't actually legally formed a true PAC - you aren't a PAC. Hence the elections violation complaint filed by Ellen Lowe regarding the anti-gay's fraudulent fundraising tactics.

Quick refresher. David's Crowe's defunct group "Concerned Oregonians PAC" was in fact a corporation, not a political action committee although they claimed that any individual could donate up to $50 and married couples could donate up to $100 that would be tax-deductible via Oregon's political tax credit.

The issue? THEY LIED. They defrauded Oregonians -- and David Crowe has since moved to Tennessee in the past couples of weeks - at least that is what he tells the New York Times.

What deeply rooted Christian values!

In our next post today we're going to breakdown who gave money and just as important - who didn't give money to the Chief Petitioner's PAC's for referendum #303 and #304 - one an attempt to overturn Oregon's Domestic Partnership law and the other an attempt to overturn Oregon's anti-discrimination law.

Look for that later today.

Apple Online Store

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ENDA Stalled Again in House

An update from Cris Johnson at HRC:

To temporarily roadblock ENDA, House Republicans use motion to adjourn to stop debate

BREAKING: Minutes ago, House Republicans used a procedural motion to adjourn the U.S. House as a desperate delaying tactic to keep ENDA from moving forward....

From the Library of Congress:
A motion to adjourn is a nondebatable motion to end the day's session of the House or Senate or a committee. It sometimes specifies the time or day for reconvening, or makes reconvening subject to the call of Chair. Since a motion to adjourn is of the highest privilege, it must be voted on immediately. It cannot be offered in the Committee of the Whole.

Unbelievable. Our opponents are determined to make this a long, ugly debate...

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Wasco County: Anti-Gay Recall Effort Fails

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Anti-equality activists in Wasco County yesterday failed to submit signatures to county officials in their effort to recall Wasco Judge Dan Erickson and Commissioner Sherry Holliday.

Erickson and Holliday, who are both Republicans, were targeted for their support of a Wasco County ordinance passed earlier this year that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.

This marks a major win for Oregon - especially as Wasco County is quite rural. Thank you Wasco County residents!

At this moment, 13 counties or cities have anti-discrimination ordinances leaving a patchwork of different laws. On January 1, 2008, Oregon's statewide anti-discrimination law will go into effect - banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

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Oregon Anti-Gay Group Moves to Tennessee?

This is not a test and not a joke. Could it possibly be true that David Crowe, head of Restore America - the extremist anti-gay group who was attempting to put Oregon's new Domestic Partnership and Anti-Discrimination laws on the Novemeber 2008 ballot - has moved to Tennessee?

That's what we just heard from always reliable blogger The One True B!X. A post on his blog 'Furious Nads' from Oct. 20 says:

Anyone have any idea why David Crowe of the Oregon-based Restore America's Bigotry is described by the press as being from Tennessee?


And just two days ago on Oct. 22 he has a new post stating something very surprising:
Remember when I wondered why the press was referring to David Crowe of Restore America's Bigotry as being of Tennessee? I asked The New York Times, and here's why: "They just moved from Oregon to Tennessee."


Wow. They told the NY Times that they have moved to Tennessee. Could it be possible that they've realized that Oregon isn't a place where their sort of fringe extremism would be tolerated so they have to go to a place like Tennessee?

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Oregon Bigots Are Bitter As Hell

David Crowe of the defunked and illegal 'political action committee' called Concerned Oregonians is crying fowl weeks after his failed referendum attempt.

From OregonLive today:

Opponents of the domestic partnership bill that passed the Legislature are still trying to get the law referred to the ballot, even though the secretary of state's office ruled earlier this month that they fell 116 valid signatures short of the 55,179 required by law.

The Medford Mail Tribune reports that opponents of the law - which allows same-sex couples to form domestic partnerships that include many of the legal protections given to married couples - are pressuring the Jackson County Clerk Kathy Beckett to count several signatures she had earlier invalidated.

Because the secretary of state validates petitions by using just a sample of the signatures, opponents figure they can make up their deficit by persuading the clerk to allow just six of the invalidated signatures to be counted. The group seeking the referendum, Concerned Oregonians, has rounded up eight people who say they signed the petition but had their signatures unfairly invalidated.

At this point, Beckett gives no indication she will change her mind. But if nothing else, it's a sign of how every angle of Oregon's initiative and referendum process is coming under intense scrutiny and pressure.


Give up already. When gay and lesbian Oregonians lost Constitutional Amendment 36 in 2004, sure we cried and were deeply upset - upset for very good reasons. Oregon's Constitution was scarred that fateful day. It was no longer the Constitution of the people, it was the Constitution for some.

Now, after your blatant failure to put the 26th and 27th (I think) anti-gay measure on the ballot (more than any other state in the nation) you are crying fowl. Take your defeat as just that. Oregonians simply aren't into your politics of bigotry and fear. That was so 2004.

You claim that Oregon's new Domestic Partnership law "violates the intent of Oregon voters who in 2004 adopted a constitutional ban on gay marriage." So why go through all these months of collecting tens of thousands of signatures?

If it was violating Measure 36 then you would file a lawsuit. If in fact it did violate Measure 36, you would win. I will give you some credit here though. Deep down you know that Domestic Partnerships in no way violate Measure 36--nor the "spirit of Measure 36". Hence why you and your fellow self-righteous bigots have failed to do so.

You also fail to notice that the proponents of Measure 36 have stepped back and are not participating in the referendum attempt. They even know that Domestic Partnerships are a far cry from marriage.

"The spirit of Measure 36"... what exactly is that? The way I see it the spirit of Measure 36 is damn evil by not only permanently inscribing blatant discrimination in Oregon's most sacred document, by locking Oregon families out of vital rights, protections and responsibilities.

I think families are the backbone of society, whereas you could not be further away from this belief. Selectively shutting out couples, especially with children from protecting one another is just plain wrong. As one of your cohorts said in a voter guide statement: "Speaking of families, raising a successful and loving family in the '90's can be challenging".

Damn right--10 years later it's even harder.

Now you are also falsely claiming that:

"...the legislature's results fail to provide a sufficient religious exemption to protect churches and religious organizations from being forced to hire homosexual individuals, and further it leaves to "a court to decide what is or is not closely connected with the primary purposes of the church."

The pair of plans also would require school districts to teach homosexual, bisexuality and transgenderism in their classrooms, and the domestic partnership proposal itself, would create discrimination."


Must I again remind you that the proponents of Measure 36, the Oregon Family Council decided not to involve themselves in the referendum attempt. In fact they called the religious expemtion "iron clad."

Let it go. Oregonians just aren't that into you.

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ENDA Update

Friday, October 19, 2007

Yesterday the U.S. House of Representatives' Education and Workforce Committee voted 21-27 to report H.R. 3685, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act providing workplace protections on the basis of sexual orientation, out of committee and onto the floor of the House for a full vote expected next week. Four Republican amendments were offered in committee and were defeated.

To view the language and a description of each of the four amendments go to HRC's The Back Story.

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Gay Only ENDA Moving Forward

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Just days after Speaker Pelosi pledged to ensure to bring a trans-inclusive ENDA to the floor when their were sufficient votes, a 'gay-only' bill (House Resolution 3685) is moving in the House.

For a look at the national and statewide groups only supporting fully inclusive legislation and for a list of the 171 co-sponsors of this version of ENDA, visit www.unitedenda.com.

From the Washington Blade:

In a private meeting late Friday on Capitol Hill, congressional leaders told gay and transgender activists that they would move ahead with a version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that lacks trans protections.

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, and Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, attended the meeting and confirmed to the Blade that House leaders would first seek to pass the sexual orientation-only version of ENDA.

But in what Solmonese called an unprecedented commitment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed to give the trans-inclusive version of ENDA a floor vote "the minute" enough votes are secured to pass it.

"Our strategy throughout has been to stay at the table and fight for the ultimate goal that we all share," Solmonese said. "Today, that strategy has proven to be successful."

Keisling, however, said her organization would stand among the groups that continue to oppose the amended version of ENDA introduced by gay Rep. Barney Frank.

She said that bill, known as House Resolution 3685, lacked the support of "a single LGBT or other civil rights organization," and was inferior to the trans-inclusive version, House Resolution 2015.

"I can't stress enough how we are focusing on passing 2015," she said. "The truth is we feel the strategy around 3685 is bad strategy. We think it's been handled badly, we think it is harmful and we oppose it."

The decision by House Democrats to move ahead with the sexual orientation-only ENDA comes two weeks after Pelosi delayed a vote on that measure to give gay and transgender rights groups more time to persuade House members to back a trans-inclusive ENDA.

Solmonese said it was determined at today's meeting that there were not sufficient votes to pass the trans-inclusive measure and House leaders would press ahead with the other version.


Read the entire article over at the Washington Blade.

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More on Anti-Discrimination Referendum Failure

Friday, October 12, 2007

From the Oregon Secretary of State:

SALEM - Today the Elections Division of the Secretary of States Office announced verification of signatures for referendum petition #304 submitted for the November 4, 2008 General Election ballot has been completed.

The result of the signature verification is referendum #304 did not contain enough valid signatures to qualify to the ballot. Referendum #304 was filed on SB 2 passed by the 2007 Oregon Legislature.

This proposed referendum required 55,179 valid signatures to gain ballot access. The referendum contains 53,875 valid signatures, or 90.15% of the 59,761 total unverified signatures submitted for verification.



The L word jewelry

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BREAKING: REFERENDUM ON ANTI-DISCRIMINATION FAILED

The anti-gay referendum attempt on Oregon's Anti-Discrimination law has FAILED. Supporters of discrimination could only muster up 53,875 valid signatures and they needed at least 55,179 to force the vote in November 2008.

This means that both Oregon's Domestic Partnership law (referendum failed earlier this week) and Oregon's Anti-Discrimination law will go into effect as planned on January 1, 2008.

Good job my fellow Oregonians. More to come as this story unfolds.


The L word jewelry

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Fate of Oregon's Anti-Discrimination Law Determined Today

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Today at 5pm was the deadline for Oregon's counties to complete their signature verification process. Tomorrow the Secretary of State will announce whether or not it has been certified.

Just a refresher on the situation.

This law, signed by Governor Kulongoski on May 9th of this year (video of signing), will ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing and public accommodation.

A few fringe anti-gay groups organized together (and I use organized very lightly) in an attempt to put a referendum on the November 2008 ballot. They needed to collect 55,179 valid signatures to accomplish this. When they turned in their signatures with just about 30 minutes left to spare on their 3 month window, they claimed they had 63,000.

The Secretary of State's office then went through the first round of verification. In that round they look for any major irregularities or incorrect sheets and discard them. Following that process there were 59,761 signatures. From there samples went out to Oregon counties for further verification.

Now here we are. Just hours until we find out if anti-gay groups have succeeded in forcing a public vote on whether or not a person should be fired from their job SIMPLY for being gay - or even being denied housing JUST because they are gay or lesbian.

Our prediction at here at GRW is that they will fail based on the other referendum attempt on the Domestic Partnership law also passed n May 9th. After the first round of verification it had 60,531 that then went to the counties for further scrutiny. That one ended up failing by 116 signatures earlier this week.

We'll be watching this story closely tomorrow and will announce the outcome as soon as we hear.

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ENDA: What's The Story?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Reports started coming in yesterday that the Federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was in jeopardy. The issue? Trans inclusive language in the bill.

From the Bay Area Reporter:

The federal trans-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act that has been a centerpiece of LGBT legislation for the Human Rights Campaign and other gay rights groups appeared headed for collapse in the House of Representatives Thursday, September 27 with a plan by gay Congressman Barney Frank to introduce two versions of the bill – one addressing sexual orientation and one addressing gender identity.


This has had some pretty serious consequences. A letter went out to openly gay U.S. Rep. Frank and others stating that most of the nation's GLBT rights organizations would not support ENDA without trans inclusive language.

This issue? HRC refused to sign onto the letter and I am still not sure why they made that decision, which by all accounts is a very poor decision.

Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, told the Bay Area Reporter Thursday afternoon that his organization was told of Frank's plan earlier in the day.

"We will oppose a non-inclusive bill," Foreman said.

[...]

"One thing we know is there are inevitable jitters at the end when it comes close to passing LGBT bills, and the answer is to go talk to members and move forward," Foreman said. "There were similar jitters with the hate crime bill and it passed."

The trans-inclusive hate crime bill passed the House in May; it passed in the Senate Thursday.

"In the last five years, gender identity has been added in state legislation and did not derail it," Foreman added. "We think they should take a step back and solidify support, not go forward with a strategy that leaves part of our community behind."

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God Called, Said You Are a Paranoid Schizophrenic.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Marylin ShannonAn Open Letter To Former Oregon State Senator Marylin Shannon:

For those of you who are unaware of who Marylin Shannon is, she is one of the three ring-leaders who are trying to overturn Oregon's new Domestic Partnership and Anti-Discrimination laws via a referendum.

My Dearest Schizo Bigot,

I sincerely apologize Mrs. Shannon, but after a long train of thought while taking a pee this morning, I've decided we could never be friends.

Here are my concerns.

1.) You think that gay people are immoral, perverted and destroying the world. That's a pretty big one for me.

2.) On one documented occasion while on the phone with a reporter, you claimed that you could not send a photo of yourself for the paper claiming, "[T]he homosexuals hacked into my computer and now it won't work." Mrs. Shannon, this concerns me.

3.) You were endorsed by Sen. Gordon Smith in your run for Oregon State Senate.

4.) You were on the "US Justice Department's Task Force on Families in Crisis"... yet you lack the basic judgement necessary to see that in Oregon, same-sex couples and their families are indeed in crisis, unable to establish a legal relationship to one another. So what do you recommend when these families, some of them your own neighbors, are in crisis?

5.) You claim that Oregon's new Domestic Partnership law "violates the intent of Oregon voters who in 2004 adopted a constitutional ban on gay marriage."

If this were in fact the case, file a lawsuit. If in fact it did violate Measure 36, you would win. I will give you some credit here though. You know that Domestic Partnerships in no way violate Measure 36--nor the "spirit of Measure 36". Hence why you and your fellow self-righteous bigots have failed to do so.

Oh and! I see that you fail to notice that the proponents of Measure 36 have stepped back and are not participating in the referendum attempt. They even know that Domestic Partnerships are a far cry from marriage.

6.) "The spirit of Measure 36"... what exactly is that? The way I see it the spirit of Measure 36 is damn evil by not only permanently inscribing blatant discrimination in Oregon's most sacred document, but locking Oregon families out of vital rights, protections and responsibilities.

7.) I think families are the backbone of society, whereas you could not be further away from this belief. Selectively shutting out couples, especially with children from protecting one another is just plain wrong. As you said in your voter guide statement: "Speaking of families, raising a successful and loving family in the '90's can be challenging".

Damn right--10 years later it's even harder.

In closing Mrs. Shannon, no "homosexual hacked into your computer". They are not "destroying your life", nor do they interfere with your life. In fact, you interfere with their lives.

You are a coward Mrs. Shannon. Your name will go down in Oregon's history books as a failure, a bigot and a woman who held little regard for the welfare of Oregon families. Shame on you. Shame.

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OREGON: Wasco County Passed Anti-Discrimination Ordinance

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wasco County, yes Wasco County passed an anti-discrimination ordinance last Wednesday. The Wasco County Court passed it unanimously with little opposition. Wasco County includes The Dalles, Antelope and Dufur and yes, it is very rural. Wasco County becomes the 13th municipality to pass such an ordinance that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation in areas such as employment, housing and public accommodation.

This victory in Oregon goes to show that no matter urban or rural, this is an issue we can all agree on. Congrats Wasco County!

Some of you may ask, "wait, I thought Oregon just passed a statewide anti-discrimination law?" Well yes Oregon did. That law goes into effect on January 1st, 2008 but some right-wing fundies are attempting to get it on the ballot for November 2008 via a referendum.

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Basic Rights Oregon Launches New Campaign

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I'm pretty impressed. The folks at Basic Rights Oregon launched a new campaign today called "50 Voices for Equality". It features 50 straight, yes straight Oregonians who are coming out in support of equality for gay and lesbians. They are also obviously voicing their support for the two recent laws passed in May. One being the Domestic Partnership law and the other being a statewide Anti-Discrimination law.

Sadly, anti-family, anti-fairness groups are currently attempting to do a referendum on these laws. Check out the video below about the new 50 Voices for Equality campaign and visit the site at www.50VoicesForEquality.com.


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Video: Oregon Domestic Partnerships Bill, Anti-Discrimination Bill Gets Gov's Sig

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Today, Governor Kulongsoski signed into law a domestic partnership bill that would extend to same-sex couples the rights, benefits and responsibilities currently only available via a marriage contract... BUT only valid within the state of Oregon.

Today he also signed into law a comprehensive anti-discrimination bill that will outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, public accommodation, public education etc. Religious employers, institutions and organizations are exempt from this new law.

What an amazing day to be an Oregonian. Both laws go into effect Jan. 1, 2008.

Check out this viedo from the signing:

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Kulongoski to Sign Domestic Partnership and Anti-Discrimination Bill Tomorrow

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Tomorrow, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski will sign Oregon's Domestic Partnership bill and a comprehensive anti-discrimination bill. The day has finally come. 34 years after the first anti-discrimination bill was introduced.

Tomorrow Oregon will also become the first state in the U.S. to pass any sort of relationship rights law after passing a constitutional amendment banning marriage for same-sex couples. There is no doubt that Domestic Partnerships are not marriage, but this bill is an amazing step forward in proving the invaluable rights to Oregon families who are currently otherwise unprotected.

The domestic partnership bill is obviously not portable to any other state, therefore as a couple you are legally strangers in the eyes of that state if you travel. It also doesn't afford to couples and their families the 1,138 rights and immunities granted at the federal level.

Again, that said, absolutely amazing! Tomorrow is historic in every way. Way to go Oregon, I'm proud to call you home.

-GS

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BREAKING: Domestic Partnerships Pass Oregon Legislature

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Done and done. Today, by a vote of 21-9 the Oregon Senate has voted to approve domestic partnerships for same-sex couples. Just weeks ago the Oregon Legislature passed a statewide anti-discrimination bill that includes sexual orientation and gender identity--becoming the 18th state to do so.

What an amazing day for all Oregonians.

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Iowa Becomes 19th State to Pass Anti-Discrimination Legislation

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Just a week after Oregon, Iowa becomes the 19th state to pass an anti-discrimination bill.

Read story here.

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Washington Governor Signs Domestic Partnership Bill

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Yesterday, Governor Chris Gregoire signed into law, legislation to give gay and lesbian couples some of the rights that come with marriage.

The domestic partnership bill will create a domestic partnership registry with the state, and provide enhanced rights for same-sex couples, including hospital visitation rights, the ability to authorize autopsies and organ donations and inheritance rights when there is no will.

To be registered, couples would have to share a home, not be married or in a domestic relationship with someone else, and be at least 18.

Now, California and Washington both have domestic partnership laws on the book. The two vary in the amount of rights given to those couples in the Domestic Partnership. Washington's give about a dozen rights and protections, whereas California's law is more expansive.

Oregon will soon be next on the short list of states that offer domestic partnerships benefits at a statewide level. Oregon's House Bill 2007 passed the Oregon House 34-26 this past week and is heading to the Oregon Senate shortly. This week Oregon also passed Senate Bill 2, The Oregon Equality Act, which will ban discrimination based on sexual orientation (GLBT or straight) in areas such as housing, employment, public accommodation and public education. The Governor has pledged to sign both bills when they reach his desk.

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ENDA Introduced Next Tuesday

Friday, April 20, 2007

BIPARTISAN EMPLOYMENT NON-DISCRIMINATION BILL TO BE INTRODUCED ON TUESDAY

Washington, DC--Reps. Barney Frank (D-MA), Deborah Pryce (R-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Christopher Shays (R-CT), along with representatives from the religious, corporate and advocacy community, will hold a press conference to announce the reintroduction of the bipartisan Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) on Tuesday, April 24 at 1:00 p.m. The proposed legislation will extend important federal employment protections to gay men and lesbians and will prohibit employment discrimination based on gender identity. Every year, qualified hard-working Americans are denied job opportunities because of who they are. Countless others live in fear of losing their jobs. In 33 states, it is legal to fire someone who is otherwise qualified simply because of his or her sexual orientation; the same is true in 42 states based on gender identity. ENDA is aimed at addressing this problem on a national level.

Here it goes. For more information on ENDA you can go here.

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"Restore America" Plans on Bringing Senate Bill 2 and House Bill 2007 to Ballot in Oregon

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

When the extremists aren't extreme enough. The crazies must step in. Today, I personally got a chance to witness the Oregon House votes on SB 2 and HB 2007. I also happened to be on my cell phone outside of the House Gallery while David Crowe of "Restore America" was also on his cell phone talking to a fellow extremist as they planned their next moves... meaning their next email.

Here it is...

House Defies the People of Oregon: Enshrines Another form of Marriage and Morality Into Oregon Law
April 17, 2007

LAKE OSWEGO, Oregon - By a vote of 34-26 along party lines, the Oregon House of Representatives Voted today to override the will of the Oregon people, instituting same sex marriage by another name, 'domestic partnerships,' formerly titled 'civil unions.'

With every House democrat and three republicans voting for the first of Governor Kulongoski's political payoff bills, the House defied the people of Oregon who clearly said in 2004 that they wanted marriage to be between a man and a woman only.

Installing Coerced Acceptance of Immoral Behavior
By a vote of 35 to 25 with the same three republicans and one more joining all the democrats, the House completely ignored the well reasoned, objective, and clearly demonstrated objections to the bill by House Republicans.
In effect, they ignored the wisdom of several millennia, basing their arguments not on facts, but anecdotal stories, even asserting that all the categories provided protections in SB 2 were biologically determined, when in fact there is not one shred of evidence to support their position.

In short it was a scene of the worst sort of obfuscation, assertion without facts, feelings without wisdom, and political chicanery you can imagine. Clearly, there was an agenda without factual support, and the democrats could not withstand the truth. So they ignored it for what they believed was political benefit, to them and their supporters.

What Now?
The people of Oregon deserve people in office who respect their wishes, not those of a small minority who wish to impose their morality upon others while forcing acquiescence by using the authority of human law, in disregard of God's Law.
Our next step in opposing these bills is a Referral to the people of Oregon. They have the right to approve or disapprove the actions of the legislature. And considering the clear disinterest of the democrat majority to honor the will of the people, that is what should be done.

Given the fact that the Oregon Family Council (OFC) has stated publicly that they do not intend to initiate a referral, Restore America will. Christians are commanded to love our neighbor, not just place sandbags around the church to the neglect of those we, and He, say He loves. We are to stand for Truth and Righteousness, and that we shall do.

55,179 valid signatures of registered voters is required to place the Referendum on the next General Election Ballot. These laws would not go into effect until 30 days after that election.

Please continue to read and forward our Updates, Alerts, and Commentaries. More details will follow in the next few days.

How Our Representatives Voted
My next email will outline how our representatives voted. For now, it is important to get this information to you as quickly as possible.

"In quietness and confidence shall be your strength." Isaiah 30:15
"Be not deceived, God is not mocked." Galatians 6:7
"If God be for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31
"We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us." Romans 8:37
"Arise therefore, and be doing, and the LORD be with thee." I Chronicles 22:16

David Crowe
Executive Director


So there you have it. Not only do you have your fill of Bible verses for the day, you also see that "Restore America" doesn't think that The Oregon Family Council is extreme enough and that SB 2 and HB 2007 will go to the ballot on "Restore America's" dime.

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Domestic Partnerships and Anti-Discrimination Pass Oregon House Today

Today in the Oregon House, two major pro-equality bills passed.

Senate Bill 2, which would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in situations like employment, housing and piblic accommodation passed the House in a vote of 35-25.

House Bill 2007, which would grant same-sex couples many of the rights currenly only available to straight married couples--via Domestic Partnerships--passed 34-26.

It is a great day for Oregon. A very great day.

To take a look back at Basic Rights Oregon's "live blogging" from the vote, click here.

-GS

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BREAKING: Senate Bill 2, Anti-Discrimination Goes to House Floor

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Just a quick update: Senate Bill 2 was just moments ago passed out of the Oregon House Rules Committee in a 5-1 vote.

Now both House Bill 2007 (domestic partnerships) and Senate Bill 2 (Anti-discrimination) will head to the floor for a full vote in the House.

-GS

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BREAKING: Oregon Domestic Partnership Bill Moves to Full Vote in House

This morning, the Oregon House Elections, Ethics and Rules Committee voted 5-2 in bipartisan support to recommend due pass on House Bill 2007.

For over six hours yesterday the committee heard testimony on this bill and Senate Bill 2, a bill that would ban discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation. This morning's work session was supposed to be on both SB 2 and HB 2007, but the committee needed more time to go through the testimony on Senate Bill 2, as most of the testimony was geared at that one. It seems that the already broad religious exemption is the main argument from the extremely right-leaning Christian right who oppose it. There may be discussion on that this evening at 5pm.

The problem is that these people who oppose the religious exemption as written are not simply opposed to the religious exemption as we heard loud and clear during testimony last night. They are simply anti-gay.

More to come.

For more related to these two bills:
House Bill 2007
Senate Bill 2
Oregon's Civil Rights Fight

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The Russians Have Landed and They Are Wearing Dolce & Gabanna

Monday, April 09, 2007

So I'm sitting here at the Capitol waiting for the hearing on Senate Bill 2 and House Bill 2007 to begin. I got here pretty early and was lucky to witness the "Youth Morality". It was quite disgusting. If they were a "shining example" of youth morality--it's pretty damn sad. These 16, 17 and 18 year old kids had no clue why they were there other than to be used as pawns by the Oregon Family Council.

They came by the hundreds with stickers that read SB 2 & HB 2007 with a big "X" through it. Many of them are wearing about 5 of those all over their bodies and some had "One Man. One Woman. Yes on 36" bumper stickers on their backs. It is quite disgusting. I wanted to say to them, "That was so three years ago". But the humor would have been lost on them for a number of reasons. The main reason being that 95% of them only spoke Russian. Another funny observation was that many of these people were not even of voting age. Half of them didn't know why they were there and the other half would say "fag" or "dyke" as people on our side of the argument walked by them (which is a bit unavoidable as they are all out in the galleria).

Another funny thing that I noticed is that these boys are wearing these anti-gay stickers all over there body-yet sporting Dolce & Gabanna from head to toe. Did I mention Senate Bill 2 would cover perceived or real sexual orientation? 'Nuff said.

And finally the sad reality of the night was that you know there were plenty of closeted young adults there who are dragged out by their parents or by their Russian Orthodox youth group. I truly feel sorry for them.

-G.S.

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