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Al Gore Speaks Out on Gay Rights

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Al Gore has a clip on Current TV (Al Gore/Google's station) where he addresses and supports gay rights including full marriage equality for gays and lesbians. Check it out...

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Judge Who Made Yesterday's Anti-Gay Ruling Has Shady Past?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

In an April 2003 story in the Oregonian entitled, "Smith's Pick Stirs Gay-Rights Controversy", it talks about the now District Court Judge Michael Mosman as possibly having an anti-gay side.

From the Oregonian:
What once seemed like a slam-dunk nomination for the federal judiciary in Oregon could turn into a test of political wills for Oregon's two senators, Republican Gordon Smith and Democrat Ron Wyden.

Michael Mosman, the U.S. attorney in Portland, is Smith's choice for a vacant district judgeship and is still regarded as a favorite of the Bush White House. But recent revelations of Mosman's views on gay rights, first expressed in 1986, have delayed his selection and what otherwise would likely be easy Senate confirmation.

Now, gay-rights groups are demanding explanations from Mosman, putting Smith's carefully crafted reputation as a friend to the homosexual community on the line. Wyden, meanwhile, could be the only defense against a filibuster by the Senate's increasingly restive Democratic minority if he chooses to support Mosman's nomination.

The senators have cooperated in filling the vacancy created when U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones took senior status in 2000. But they could face rough going if national gay-rights groups actively oppose Mosman's nomination.

"If the gay-rights community makes this nomination a litmus test, then quite frankly, they're in the middle of it and they're going to have to take sides," said Jim Moore, an independent political analyst in Portland.

It's unclear whether that will happen. But gay-rights activists say they're still waiting for answers from Mosman.

"What I want him to show is that he has come to understand that relationships need to be judged on their quality, not whether they are gay or straight," said Roey Thorpe, executive director of Basic Rights Oregon, an advocacy group in Portland.

Mosman, 46, emerged as the top candidate in January after Ray Baum, a lawyer for Smith's family business, withdrew. But controversy erupted in March, when Basic Rights disclosed Mosman's role in a pivotal 1986 case, Bowers V. Hardwick (read about the case on Wikipedia here).

The group uncovered and presented to Smith two "bench memos" that Mosman had written as a clerk to Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. Mosman urged Powell to uphold Georgia's anti-sodomy law against a claim that police invaded a man's privacy by arresting him in his home.

Read the entire story here.

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Barack Obama Launches Site Just For Gays

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Not that this is a new thing for candidates to do. I remember back in 2004 the candidates had an LGBT outreach as well. Anyway, here is Obama's.

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Washington's Domestic Partnership Law in Effect

Monday, July 23, 2007

Washington Domestic PartnershipCouples lined up this morning to take advantage of Washington state's new Domestic Partnership law which affords roughly twelve benefits to same-sex couples. These rights, benefits and responsibilities include things like: hospital visitation, the ability to authorize autopsies and organ donations, and the ability to inherit in the absence of a will.

Equal Rights Washington makes no claim that Washington's Domestic Partnerships are just a band-aid and no replacement for the hundreds of rights, responsibilities and protections that come with marriage.

Some 85 couples were registered after the first hour Monday, with another 50 pairs standing in a line that wrapped around the front of the secretary of state's office in downtown Olympia.

One small positive step forward for society.

Of course you then have the whackos...
Joseph Fuiten, a Bothell pastor who leads the conservative group Positive Christian Agenda, called the partnership registry "social experimentation."

"The state of Washington is signaling to our children that domestic partnerships are nearly as good as marriage," Fuiten said in a statement. "No research was done by the Legislature to prove that no harm will come to society as a result of this action."

To Mr. Fuiten I say this. First, the State of Washington is not in any way indicating that Domestic Partnerships are 'nearly as good as marriage'. As I said above these Domestic Partnerships offer ABOUT A DOZEN vital rights and responsibilities--far from the hundreds afforded to Mr. Fuiten and his wife.

If "social experimentation" as Mr. Fuiten calls it are things like being able to visit your partner in the hospital or the ability to authorize autopsies and organ donations then I question his morals as a human being and as a pastor. These socially conservative extremists prove once and again that they do not even realize the worth of their marriage and that is a sad fact.

How about this...
What is Mr. Fuiten's child was in desperate need of an organ transplant, days away from death? Would he then have the same issue with committed gay couples being able to make choices about their partner's organs after death? Think about that Mr. Fuiten.

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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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Gay Pair's Photo Blacked Out of Yearbook in Jersey

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The NJ star-Ledger has the scoop on this ridiculous, hypocritical decision by the high school...

A photograph of an East Side High School student kissing his boyfriend was blacked out of every copy of the school's yearbook by Newark school officials who decided it was inappropriate.

Andre Jackson said he never thought he would offend anyone when he bought a page in the yearbook and filled it with several photographs, including one of him kissing his boyfriend.

But Newark Superintendent of Schools Marion Bolden called the photograph "illicit" and ordered it blacked out of the $85 yearbook before it was distributed to students at a banquet for graduating seniors Thursday.

"It looked provocative," she said. "If it was either heterosexual or gay, it should have been blacked out. It's how they posed for the picture."

Russell Garris, the assistant superintendent who oversees the city's high schools, brought the photograph to Bolden's attention Thursday afternoon. He was concerned the picture would be controversial and upsetting to parents, Bolden said.

There are several photos of heterosexual couples kissing in the yearbook, but the superintendent said she didn't review the entire yearbook and was presented only with Jackson's page.

Ripping the page out entirely was considered but, Bolden said, it was decided blacking it out with a marker would lessen the damage to the yearbooks.

Jackson said he showed up at the banquet, excited to collect his yearbook. He'd paid an additional $150 for the special tribute page filled with shots of boyfriend David Escobales, 19, of Allentown, Pa., and others. Jackson learned what happened to his page moments before the books were distributed.

While the students waited, staff members in another room blacked out the 4 1/2-by-5-inch picture from approximately 230 books.

"I don't understand," said Jackson, 18. "There is no rule about no gay pictures, no guys kissing. Guys and girls kissing made it in."

East Side's is like most high school yearbooks. About 80 pages in the roughly 100-page tome is dedicated to class photos, formal shots of seniors, candids and spreads dedicated to a variety of sports teams and academic clubs.

The back of the book is a collection of tributes where students designed pages filled with pictures depicting them with their families, girlfriends and boyfriends, and friends.

Rules for publication of the pages prohibited shots of gang signs, rude gestures and graphic photos, said Benilde Barroqueiro, an East Side senior graduating with Jackson.

"You know, it couldn't be too provocative. No making out, no tongue," she said.

Students were surprised when they opened their books and found Jackson's picture had been covered with marker, Barroqueiro said.

"He purchased the page and fell under the rules," she said. "If they want to kiss, that's their page. If you don't like it, don't look at it."

via the NJ Star-Ledger

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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.


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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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Rep. Dennis Richardson: We Can't Wait For the Next Election

Friday, April 27, 2007

To no surprise, Representative Richardson continues to sling disparaging remarks about the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. In a recent press release he sent out regarding Basic Rights Oregon calling him out on his comparison between the massacre at Virginia Tech and the passage of Senate Bill 2 and House Bill 2007. He said, "It is regrettable that Basic Rights Oregon continues it's policy of providing misinformation to the public."

Ech hem.

A 'policy of misinformation' seems to be the standard protocol for Richardson's office. Whether comparing the GLBT community to smokers and drug addicts, or stating on the floor of the Oregon House that 'gays were more likely to commit crimes against children', it is painfully clear that his erroneous rhetoric is nothing but bigotry and completely uninformed.

For a man who claims to stand for pro-family values, he sure has no problem tossing thousands of Oregon families to the wolves--left to fend for themselves in times of extreme crisis.

As Oregon's Domestic Partnerships bill (HB 2007) heads to the Senate floor, I hope that all Senators are able to see through the fabrications of propaganda of which Rep. Richardson's blurred belief system in regards to gay and lesbians and their families.

As Basic Rights Oregon said in a recent their statement condemning Rep. Richardson's remarks, "While our nation mourns the unprecedented loss of life at Virginia Tech, and tries to recover from the enormity of this loss, Rep. Richardson makes a vulgar comparison insulting to not only Oregonians, but to those most deeply impacted by the massacre. For Richardson to say that protecting Oregon families in times of crisis is equivalent to the mass murder of some of the best and brightest America has to offer is beyond extremely distasteful--it is outright abhorrent."

BRO also said, "Oregonians know the value of being able to protect your family--and this bill directly reflects that long-held belief. Basic Rights Oregon is very optimistic that Oregon's Senators vote will in favor of basic fairness for all Oregon families, a value very much in step with the majority of Oregonians."

Enough said.

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Oregon Representative Dennis Richardson Compares Virginia Tech Tragedy to Passage of Gay Rights Bills

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

In a newsletter to his constituents, Oregon State Rep. Dennis Richardson (R - Central Point) made a statement comparing the horrific events at Virginia Tech to the Oregon House passing Senate Bill 2 (Anti-Discrimination) and House Bill 2007 (Domestic Partnerships).

This is surprisingly low--even for Rep. Richardson.

Here are his statements:

This past week has been like no other. On Monday the world witnessed the tragedy at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. On Tuesday Oregon witnessed the passage of Domestic Benefits for same-sex couples (HB 2007) and Civil Rights based on sexual orientation. I will address each of these issues below and end will a postscript on last week’s Rachel story.

If that quote makes you feel the same way it made me feel, here is his office phone number in Salem: 503-986-1404 and his email rep.dennisrichardson@state.or.us.

Rep. Richardson owes Oregonians an apology.

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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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Senate Bill 2 Passes Oregon Senate Again

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Today in the Oregon Senate, Senate Bill 2, a bill that will ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing and public accommodation passed in a concurrence vote (they had to concur with the House amendment on the religious exemption).

So that's that folks! 34 years in the making! 17 consecutive legislative session and 2007 was the year it finally passed. The Governor has 30 days from now to sign the bill which he has promised to do.

Basic Rights Oregon blogged live today from the floor session, you can read it here.


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Domestic Partnerships and Anti-Discrimination Pass Oregon House Today

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

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.


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Tomorrow: The Big Vote In The Oregon House

Monday, April 16, 2007

Tomorrow, House Bill 2007 and Senate Bill 2 will get their first chance in the Oregon House. Basic Rights Oregon says that they will have live blog coverage starting right before floor session (session starts at 10am) tomorrow. We'll put a link up as soon as they have it up.

Tomorrow shall prove to be one of the biggest day in queer rights history in Oregon--and this time for the good.

Good night all! Here is to a successful tomorrow! I am going to try and be there during the vote, just can't promise it.


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Mollala Does Right and Allows GSA. Tootie Smith Loses.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

As first written about over at Loaded Orygun, the lastest news as of today is that the Molalla principal approves gay-straight alliance, despite objections from people like the devil's spawn, Tootie Smith, the lobbyist for the Oregon Family Council.

Despite their hate for real Oregon families... (I will save that post for later)

Here it is from the Oregonian:

After weeks of local controversy, Molalla High School Principal Kevin Ricker this week approved students' request to launch a Gay-Straight Alliance club.

Two students originally proposed the club in February to promote tolerance of diverse sexual orientation, said Tanya Earle, a teacher and club adviser. The students drafted a constitution and submitted it to student leaders, who approved it after some debate, and forwarded it to Ricker for final approval.

In recent weeks, a group of concerned parents gathered signatures on a petition opposing the club and met with school officials. Tootie Smith, who helped circulate the petition, declined to comment on approval of the club. Smith is a district parent, former state representative and a lobbyist for the Oregon Family Council.

Wayne Kostur, superintendent of Molalla River School District, said Ricker's decision was in line with school standards governing student organizations: "It appears to me that the students who wished to form that group did so in the appropriate fashion, and once they met the criteria that were established, the principal approved it."

Sorry Tootie. Homophobia lost. You lost.

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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.


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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.


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New Hampshire's House Approves Civil Union Bill

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Today, New Hampshire's House of Representatives voted overwhelming to give gay couples nearly the same rights as married couples by voting 243 to 129 on Wednesday to allow civil unions for gays and lesbians.

The speculation is that the NH Senate will vote to approve the civil unions bill as well, which must be signed by Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat who has publicly expressed opposition to gay marriage and has not indicated if he will sign it into law.

New Hampshire would become the 4th state in the U.S. to offer civil unions--unless of course Oregon can beat them to the punch.

Oregon's HB 2007 (civil union/domestic partnership type bill) is making it's way through the process right now. The first hearing for the Oregon Family Fairness Act will be help this Monday, April 9th. The House is expected to pass the bill and the Oregon Senate is expected to pass it as well.


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Oregon's SB 2 and HB 2007 Scheduled for Testimony in Oregon House

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Just a quick update. This morning we heard news that Senate Bill 2 (statewide anti-discrimination) and HB 2007 (would legally recognize same-sex relationships) will get hearings on Monday, April 9th at 5:30pm in the Oregon House Elections, Ethics and Rules Committee.

For a refresher: Senate Bill 2, which would ban discrimination based on sexual orientaion (straight & queer) passed the Oregon Senate Judiciary Committee by a 3-1 vote. It later moved to the Oregon Senate and passed 21-7. Now it is moving to the House, and House Bill 2007 that would grant a number of rights similar to that afforded to staright couples on the state level via marriage, will get its first hearing, then will move on to the Senate for a yay or nay vote.

More to come on Monday.


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Soulforce's Equality Ride Comes to George Fox University in Newburg

Monday, April 02, 2007

Soulforce's Equality Ride is making it's way to Oregon on April 5th!

From Soulforce:
soul force equality ride

We are working cooperatively with George Fox University to structure a mutually enriching day on campus. On-campus events - including meals shared with students and administrators, classroom presentations, a discussion with health care center staff members, and social time with campus organizations - are open exclusively to George Fox University students and faculty and to the Equality Riders.

Community members who wish to be involved with this stop are welcome to join us for off-campus events in the Portland area, including, but not limited to, a nonviolence seminar with Love Makes a Family and the Black Student Union at Portland Community College, Cascade Campus, on Friday, April 6th, from 1 - 4 p.m., and a hike and picnic lunch at Tryon Creek State Park on Saturday, April 7th, at 10 a.m.

What is Soulforce's Equality Ride?
Homophobia is globally pervasive, and no community or school escapes its reach. In 2006, during the inaugural Equality Ride, participants traveled to nineteen schools and engaged students, faculty, and administrators in conversation about the damaging effects of homophobic doctrine, the false notion that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender identities are sick and sinful. This year, the journey continues with fifty young adults going to thirty-two Christian colleges and universities. Two buses are taking the group on two distinct routes around the country in creative pursuit of social justice. In doing so, they are empowered to change countless lives. Love liberates the oppressed, redeems the lost, and resurrects the spirit.

To learn more on the Equality Ride, see the West Coast or East Coast routes, click here.

Want to be involved in the Equality ride when it makes its way to Oregon? Get more info here.

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Oregon Senate Passes Anti-Discrimination, Senate Bill 2

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Today in an overwhelming show of support against discrimination, the Oregon Senate voted 21-7 on Senate Bill 2, a bill that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in Oregon.

Obviously, with a vote of 21, there were plenty of Republicans who stood shoulder-to-shoulder against discrimination.

Unlike last session with SB 1000, the floor speeches for SB 2 were much shorter and just as expected. The extreme right-wing argued about the "lack of religious exemptions" even though there is a VERY broad exemption for churches (see last post). They claimed that if there was a larger religious exemption, that they would have voted for it. BULLSHIT.

Why is that? Because not only is there an amazingly broad religious exemption in Senate Bill 2, there is also the Oregon State and Federal Constitution that clearly lays that out in not only the 1st, but also the 14th.

Now it's on to the Oregon House! Here is a list of the 21 amazing Oregon Senators that voted to stamp out discrimination:

Sen. Brad Avakian
Sen. Alan Bates
Sen. Majority Leader Kate Brown
Sen. Ginny Burdick
Sen. President Peter Courtney
Sen. Ryan Deckert
Sen. Richard Devlin
Sen. Avel Gordly
Sen. Betsy Johnson
Sen. Rick Metsger
Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson
Sen. Rod Monroe
Sen. Bill Morrisette
Sen. Frank Morse
Sen. David Nelson
Sen. Floyd Prozanski
Sen. Kurt Schrader
Sen. Joanne Verger
Sen. Vicki Walker
Sen. Ben Westlund
Sen. Jackie Winters

Then there were also two Senators that were excused from the vote today. Sen. Carter and Sen. Atkinson.


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The Oregon Family Council... LIES. AGAIN.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Yet again The Oregon Family Council is spreading false statements about Senate Bill 2. Senate Bill two, which will be voted on tomorrow (Wednesday) in the Oregon Senate, is a comprehensive, statewide anti-discrimination bill that would outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation (yes our straight friends too!) and gender identity. It is expeccted to pass tomorrow as well.

So what is the Oregon Family Council saying? Well since you asked!

OFC claims:

SB 2, will grant special minority status protections to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals.

What I have to say about that...
If getting NOT getting fired from your job SIMPLY based on being gay or lesbian is a special right... then you are right, OFC. If being kicked out of a restaurant SIMPLY because you are gay is a "special right" then I sincerely apologize to the OFC. If being denied an apartment SIMPLY because you are a lesbian should be legal, then I apologize to the OFC.

Give me a break. If you for a second think that these three above things are "special rights" then you are severely mislead and frankly your arguments do not stand the rational basis test.

Second, the OFC claims:
They claim "The bill contains an inadequate religious exemption, and organizations such as churches, rescue missions or private schools could be legally forced to hire people based on their sexual orientation. What’s worse, the bill ultimately leaves it up to a judge to decide the “primary purpose” of a church, mosque, synagogue or other religious organization. Shouldn’t any group be free to decide their own purpose?"

What I have to say about that...
Give me a break. Read the bill bigots. The bill clearly states the opposite of what you claim and it is one of the broadest religious exemptions in the U.S.

Senate Bill 2 STILL protects bona fide churches and sectarian institutions in their employment practices; SB 2 would NOT force churches to hire an employee if that employee's sexual orientation is in conflict with church tenets-as long as the employment is related to the primary purposes of the church or religious institution.


Senate Bill 2, DOES NOT as The Oregon Family Council claims, creates new language in statute "leaving it up to a court to decide what is or is not 'closely connected with the primary purposes of the church.'" This exact language already exists in Oregon's current anti-discrimination statute (ORS 659A.006, Section 2, Sub C).

So stop whining, Christian extremists, about not being allowed to deny GLBT people basic human rights. Don't worry, you still have the full constitutional right to discriminate on any grounds that "do not meet your religious tenants".

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Oregon's Senate Bill 2 Heads to a Full Floor Vote

Tomorrow, the Oregon Senate is expected to vote and pass Senate Bill 2, The Oregon Equality Act. The Oregon Equality Act is a bill designed to ban discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender folks in areas of housing, employment and public accommodation.

Session starts tomorrow between 10am-11am. Once passed in the Senate, it'll move over to the Oregon House and it is expected to pass there as well. Governor Kulongoski has pledged to sign the bill. The passage of of Senate Bill 2 will make Oregon the 18th state in the U.S. to have some sort of anti-discrimination legislation protecting the GLBT community. Washington State was the 17th.

More to come tomorrow.

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Oregon: Hearing on Senate Bill 2 Scheduled for Monday

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Oregon's Senate Bill 2, the "Oregon Equality Act", a bill that would ban discrimination against GLBT folks in employment, housing and public accommodation, looks to be on a fast track.

On Thursday it was announced that a hearing had been scheduled by the Senate Judiciary Committee for this Monday at 5:30pm. If this is anything like last session, it could go very late into the night, as in into the wee morning hours. Hopefully that won't be the case.

From Basic Rights Oregon:

With the Day of Action being such a huge success, the Oregon Senate scheduled a hearing this Monday! On Thursday, the Senate confirmed that a public hearing on Senate Bill 2 – the Oregon Equality Act – is scheduled for THIS MONDAY the 12th at 5:30pm at the Capitol.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing open to the public on SB 2, a comprehensive bill that would outlaw discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation based on sexual orientation. Basic Rights Oregon is strongly encouraging our community and allies to attend this hearing if at all possible.

It is unsure if the committee would do a work session following the testimony. If they did, and subsequently voted it out of committee, SB 2 would be well on its way to the Senate Floor and then onto the House for a vote.

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Washington State Senate Passes Domestic Partnerships Bill

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Washington State Senate has passed a measure that would create domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.

It passed on a 28-19 vote over the objections of opponents who say the measure is essentially the same as gay marriage. Although if you look at the extreme lack of protections and rights this bill grants--any person with a brain can figure out that this bill comes VERY short of marriage.

The bill now goes to the House. Governor Gregoire is expected to sign it if it reaches her desk and speculation from sources tells us that it should pass the Washington House.

The bill would create a domestic partnership registry with the state. It would enhance rights for same-sex couples, including hospital visitation, 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 and not be married.

On a side note, this bill also cover straight couples where one partner is 62 or older.

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Hate Crimes and Employment Non-Discrimination Expected to Pass

Sunday, February 25, 2007
Now that the U.S. Congress is in a much better state, a state in which it actually serves its citizens, anti-gay hate crimes in addition to emplyment non-discrimination are likely to pass in 2007. A major step forward for fairness for the nation. This would be the first major pro-equality bill in a long while to pass through Congress.

While it isn't certain whether President Bush would sign this legislation there are signs that he may. Stay tuned...

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A Call For Basic Fairness in Oregon

Friday, February 23, 2007

A great editorial from today's Oregonian set off by Portland City Commishioner Sam Adams' lawsuit file in conunction wiith Basic Rights Oregon. The Oregonian calls for civil unions and anti-discrimination legislation in '07.

From OregonLive.com:

Gay? Breaking up is harder to do
A lawsuit filed by City Commissioner Sam Adams showcases the need for civil unions and basic fairness

For obvious reasons, the push for equal treatment of gays and lesbians has mainly highlighted happy-ever-after stories. Almost from the beginning, though, reality has protruded through the shimmer of the fairy tale.

Just last summer, in fact, Julie and Hillary Goodridge split up. The seemingly storybook-perfect couple, who won the right to marry in Massachusetts after 20 years of living together, changed their minds after only two years of wedded nonbliss. Sadly, their lawsuit against the state proved more successful than their marriage.

What does that say about same-sex marriage? The same thing your neighbor's divorce says about opposite-sex marriage: Nothing. No grand conclusions can be drawn from any family's breakup. What may surprise many people, however, are the added burdens gays and lesbians in Oregon face when their romantic partnerships do dissolve.

Read the rest over there.

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Sam Adams Sues Oregon for Discriminatory Policy

Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Yesterday, Basic Rights Oregon with Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams and his former partner, Greg Eddie filed a lawsuit.

From BRO:
At a press conference this morning, Basic Rights Oregon announced the next step in its effort to advance basic fairness through Oregon's courts.

Former Domestic Partners Greg Eddie and Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams joined Basic Rights Oregon Co-Chair Jim Morris, along with legal advisor Mark Johnson, to announce the filing of the fourth in a series of lawsuits based on the 1998 Oregon Court of Appeals Tanner v. OHSU decision.

This suit, together with the three previous cases, are necessary to address the discrimination faced by gay and lesbian Oregonians as a result of the state's failure to come into compliance with Tanner. "Bringing a lawsuit is never a first choice," said Adams. "But we both feel strongly that basic fairness is a cause worth fighting for – not just for ourselves but for all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Oregonians who face discrimination each and every day."

In Tanner, the court ruled that the protections of Oregon's constitution extend to gay and lesbian families and that the state could not disfavor them based on their inability to marry. Under the statutes that govern Oregon's Public Employee Retirement System, when a married PERS employee divorces, a court has the clear right to order PERS to divide the retirement account between the divorcing parties. Such divisions are in fact common between divorcing couples.

"Because Adams and Eddie are unable to divorce - having been barred from marrying - their right to divide Adams' PERS account is denied. Their suit therefore contends that the PERS statutes are unconstitutional, and asks the Multnomah County Circuit Court to grant the litigants the same protections that the law grants couples who were allowed to marry," said Johnson.

"Divorce is an unfortunate but crucial legal protection for many Americans," remarked Eddie. "Whether straight and married, or same-sex partners, the process of dissolving a long-term relationship is always difficult. And we believe that the state has an interest in assisting all divorcing couples to do so as equally and fairly as possible. At the end of our 11-year partnership, we went through the arduous process of dividing all of our joint assets 50/50. But with Sam's retirement - we hit a brick wall."

Read the rest here.

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Faggot. How Does The Word Make You Feel?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

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New York: Next State To Get Marriage Equality?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

New York Gov. Elliott Spitzer will propose same-sex legislation in the new session of the legislature according to his press spokesperson.

In his inauguration speech Spitzer did not mention the marriage issue or state's LGBT community raising concerns the governor had abandoned his campaign pledge to promote a marriage bill.

"The governor made a commitment to advancing it this year, and he will do so," Spitzer's communications director, Darren Dopp, told The New York Sun.

Spitzer has been a longtime advocate of gay marriage - despite as Attorney General being obligated to argue against it in the state high court case that upheld the current ban on gay marriage.

In July the New York Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, ruled that same-sex couples do not have a constitutional right to marry. It said that the issue, however, could be taken up by the Legislature.

Immediately after the ruling Spitzer said that he would draft and propose legislation to legalize gay marriage in New York State if elected governor.

But, Dopp on Friday warned that enacting a same-sex marriage bill "isn't a Day One issue." Dopp told the Sun that the first priorities are ethics and economic reform.

"We have to prioritize and that's how we prioritized," Dopp told the Sun. "That's not to say other matters are not important."

Following a move in New Paltz to allow gay marriages in 2004 Spitzer said that under state law the marriages would not be legal but said he believed gay marriage should be legal. He later issued a directive that marriages performed in areas of the world where they are legal must be recognized in New York state.

In October Spitzer was the keynote speaker at Empire State Pride Agenda's annual dinner.

"No New Yorker should be deprived of the right to marry the person of their choice, regardless of gender," he said to thunderous applause.

"This is not about forcing any religion to perform or recognize gay marriage. It's simply about permitting gay and lesbian couples the right to live in stable, long-term married relationships."

A month later he handily defeated Republican John Faso an opponent of same-sex marriage.

Bills coming before the Legislature are usually penned by members of the Assembly or the Senate, but in New York governor's regularly write their own legislation, called Program Bills which are then filed by members.

via 365gay.com

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Romney: Massachusetts Legislature Threatened with Paycut if No Vote on Gay Marriage

Friday, December 29, 2006
In an act of unethical despiration, presidential hopeful and outgoing Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney is threatening to hold back pay for state legislators until there is a vote on banning gay marriage in Massachusetts. The man is on a damn crusade to take the rights and protections away from children and their families.

With time running out opponents of same-sex marriage are massing a major campaign aimed at forcing Massachusetts lawmakers to vote on a proposed constitutional amendment that would bar gay and lesbian couples from tying the knot.

Outgoing Gov. Mitt Romney is threatening to tie up pay raises for the legislature if it does fails to act and the group behind the amendment says it will seek bar sanctions against attorney's at the legislature if the vote is not held.

The opposition mentioned above are part of the same people who attacked a woman at a rally. She was counter-protesting in favor of keeping the current pro-equality marriage laws already on the books in Massachusetts. The leader (story here) tackled the woman, shoved her face into the concrete and threatened her. Oh-and he is from the Catholic Church. It's so wrong-on so many levels.

On November 10 the legislature, meeting in a special joint session to consider the proposed amendment, recessed until January 2, without taking a vote.

The proposed amendment was the result of a signature gathering campaign mounted by conservative groups. More than the required number of names were collected, sending the issue to the Constitutional Convention where it needs only the support of only 50 lawmakers - 25 percent of the House and Senate - in two constitutional conventions for it to be put to voters in 2008.

If the convention fails to vote on January 2 - the final day of the current session - the proposed amendment would die and supporters would have to begin collecting signatures all over again in an attempt to place it before voters in 2010.

Even if the measure were to pass on January 2 it would need a second round of approval in the new session of legislature.

Romney, who leaves office in January and is expected to announce his candidacy for the GOP nomination for president, is reportedly preparing to play his final card in the battle over the amendment vote - refusing to sign automatic pay raises for lawmakers.

We shall see what happens. They really only have one day left, next Tuesday.

For more on the woman assaulted by the Catholic demonstrator:
Cathlolics Turning to Violence to Stop Equality
Update: The Violent Catholic

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Kulo's Task Force on Equality Report Released

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Today the Governor's Task Force on Equality released its recommendations to the public. These recommendations, in theory, we'd assume will be put into legislation for the 2007 legislative session.

From the Basic Rights Oregon Blog:

BRO Applauds Recommendations of Governor's Task Force on Equality

Basic Rights Oregon applauded the recommendations of the Governor's Task Force on Equality contained in a report made public by Governor Kulongoski today. The report summarizes the work of the Task Force this year and recommends two major changes to State policy: State law should prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and should provide a framework for legal recognition of same-sex relationships.

"The work and recommendations of the Governor's Task Force on Equality are meaningful because they reflect a growing recognition of the problem of discrimination and a call for full equality from a broad spectrum of community leaders across the state," said Aisling Coghlan, Basic Rights Oregon Interim Executive Director. "This report reinforces what we already know is true: most Oregonians already believe that discrimination is wrong and ought to be reflected in the laws we live by."

In a statement released by the Governor's office, Governor Kulongoski said, "This is about basic questions of fairness and equity under the law," said the Governor. "We must continue to strive to make Oregon a state of economic and social opportunity for all of our citizens, regardless of race, gender, religion, age or sexual orientation."

"We commend the Governor for his continued leadership on issues of equality and thank the Task Force members for their service on this important and historic work," said Coghlan. "We look forward to working with lawmakers in the House and Senate and with the Governor's office to make the Task Force's recommendations a reality under the law."

Read the full report here (pdf).

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