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Oregon Dem House Leader Smacks Down Oregon's GOP Fear Tactics

Friday, June 27, 2008

A quickie from Oregon politics that aren't related to the gays. House Majority Leader Dave Hunt issued a statement today in regards to Oregon Republican lawmakers spreading fear about the state of our economy and attempts to devalue the strong leadership from our newly Democratically controlled legislature. The press release is below. Majority Leader Dave Hunt was instrumental in passing Oregon's Domestic Partnership and Anti-Discrimination bills in 2007 and continues to lead progressive policy to make Oregon a better places for all her citizens.

You've got to admire the strong words and truth from the release.

Hunt Responds to Republicans: "The Sky is Not Falling"

“Oregon has fared well when compared with the economic troubles in the rest of the nation, so it is ironic that Republicans are suddenly so concerned about fiscal responsibility and the economic future of our state. Truth is, if it weren’t for the failed economic policies of the Bush Administration, and the loss of timber payments, piled on top of $4 gas and rising food prices, we might very well be the most secure place to live in the United States.

We’ve got almost a billion dollars in reserve, including over $450 million in the school stability fund. Our school funding is stable. We’ve got $340 million in the Rainy Day Account we Democrats created last session, and we’re poised to put another $139 million in there at the end of the biennium.

That’s stark contrast to years of Republican control of the Legislature, when session after session they refused to create a Rainy Day account and refused to support critical economic development legislation like last session’s transportation package which would have created jobs and helped businesses in Oregon without raising the gas tax.

Instead, Republicans have chosen to spread a message of fear, despite the fiscal restraint we showed last session and the efforts we made to promote jobs and economic development.

Our investments in renewable energy are spurring great growth, bringing good, green jobs to the state. We are poised to become a national leader in this sector and we’re making some additional investments in renewable energy this e-board session.

We have to invest in our future, and we have to act now to help Oregon's families who have been hurt by the Bush Administration's inability to manage the economy and its unwillingness to help working families.

That’s why we are also releasing $25 million in special purpose funds to add more at-risk children to early intervention programs like Head Start. We’re also putting $500,000 into aid for coastal communities hammered by floods and the salmon closure; we’re putting money into OSU to research why our bee population is declining, a grave threat to the $457 million fruit and berry industry that depends on pollination; and we’re continuing our efforts to eradicate sudden oak disease.

But even with these targeted investments, our E-Board fund will still have over $25 million when we finish here today.

We are also releasing money from the special purpose fund we set aside last year for salaries that have already been negotiated and inked. We held onto that money last February to make sure our economy didn’t worsen. Thankfully -- because of our smart planning – we are able to release those dollars and ensure that higher education and other state agencies don’t have to make cuts. We won’t be cutting college courses or releasing prisoners. It’s not going to happen.

Truth is, we’re a whole lot better off than most other states.

Republicans can run scared, but what they are really running from is their President’s failed economic policies and not the action of this legislature. We have been fiscally smart… and conservative. We’ve made the right investments and our economy is holding steady.

Frankly, while we know these are uncertain times for Oregon families, there’s no other place in the country I would rather be than right here in Oregon."

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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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Sam Adams: Portland's New Gayor-Elect

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Yeah, I said gayor of Portland. Portlandians overwhelmingly gave the thumbs up tonight to Sam Adams to be our next mayor.

Congrats Sam on a job well done! You made history tonight by becoming the first openly gay mayor of a top 40 city.

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Barack Obama: My President

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Beyond words. He has inspired a nation and he can and will change the face of this country for the better.

Barack was just here in Portland and spoke to a crowd of tens of thousands 75,000 at Waterfront Park. ABC news called it the largest political rally in the history of this cycle. Here's a picture (thanks to the Portland Mercury):

Barack Obama Portland Oregon Rally

Here's a little video that continues to resonate with me. It's from the New Hampshire primary.

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Vote Kate Brown for Oregon Secretary of State

Friday, May 16, 2008

We're with Kate Brown!

kate brown oregon secretary stateKate Brown has been a tireless advocate for civil rights in Oregon - but aside from this fact, we are voting for Kate Brown for Oregon Secretary of State because her nearly two decades of experience and major accomplishments in the state. As the first female Senate Majority leader, we know Kate to be extremely fair, yet tough when she needs to be. Kate is by far the most qualified candidate for the job and we are proud to stand up with thousands of other Oregonians in voting for her.



Gay Rights Watch encourages all Oregonians to vote for Kate Brown for Secretary of State - and we're definitely not alone. Just take a look at her roster of endorsements. This is just the short list, view the full list here.

Oregon Education Association
SEIU Locals 503 and 49
Oregon League of Conservation Voters
Basic Rights Oregon
NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon PAC
Oregon State Building and Construction Trades Council
Working Families Party
EMILY's List
Victory Fund
Twenty-First Century Democrats
Working Families Party
Carpenters Local 1065
Oregon Small Business for Responsible Leadership

Newspaper Endorsements:
The Oregonian
The Statesman Journal
The East Oregonian
The Medford Mail Tribune
Just Out
Portland Mercury
El Hispanic News
The Skanner

Visit www.katebrownfororegon.com to learn more about her and why she is the most qualified and most respected candidate for Oregon Secretary of State.

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Sam Adams: Portland's Next Mayor

Friday, May 02, 2008

It's no surprise that we are crazy about the idea of having Sam Adams as Portland's mayor. His unique vision, his tackling of the big/controversial issues and his steadfast drive to create a more livable Portland - or as his campaign would say 'Let's Move Portland Forward'. That sums it up.

It's also hard to overlook the fact that Portland would make history, aside from his groundbreaking, progressive policy. Portland would be the first Top 40 city in history to have a gay mayor.

We'll be voting for Sam. We hope you join us. His latest commercial is below, although I would highly recommend also watching an earlier video we posted a while back. We've posted that one below as well.



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9th Circuit grants motion to expedited schedule for Lemons v Bradbury

Thursday, May 01, 2008

On April 29, the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals granted plaintiffs' motion for expedited review in Lemons v. Bradbury, the lawsuit filed by out-of-state groups seeking to revive last year's failed referendum against Oregon's domestic partnership law by forcing elections officials to change the way they treat signatures on voter petitions. The original review schedule set by the Court likely would have resulted in a decision sometime next year, but Friday's order means the case could be decided as early as July.

Basic Rights Oregon has more information including updated Lemons v Bradbury timeline, court docs etc. That's here.

Related posts from Gay Rights Watch:

  • BREAKING: Basic Rights Oregon Files Motion to Intervene
  • Judge Mosman Grants BRO's Motion to Intervene in Lemons v Bradbury
  • Right Now In Oregon Federal Court Your Future is Being Decided
  • I'm Sorry. This is Bullshit, I Need to Vent.
  • OREGON WINS: DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIPS GO INTO EFFECT
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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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    John McCain: Keynote at Oregon Citizens Alliance Fundraiser

    Monday, April 21, 2008

    Shocking. Blue Oregon has the dirt on McCain's keynote address at a 1993 fundraiser for the Oregon Citizens Alliance (OCA) headed up by Lon Mabon. The OCA was responsible for numerous anti-gay ballot initiatives up until their last attempt in 2000. If you've lived in Oregon for any amount of time, you know the OCA and their hateful and often violent ways.


    From Blue Oregon:

    It seems that the media is having a lot of fun these days digging up old acquaintances of presidential candidates, finding an objectionable comment, and then badgering the candidates into denouncing those folks.

    It doesn't seem to matter how tenuous the "relationship", how long ago it was, or anything.

    So, courtesy of Jeff Mapes (who has an excellent post about John McCain's temper), here's a little snippet from a long-ago Oregonian article.

    It seems that in 1993, John McCain was the keynote speaker at a fundraising banquet for the Oregon Citizens Alliance, the notorious anti-gay organization that was causing all sorts of trouble in Oregon in the 1990s.

    McCain quickly got a first-hand flavor for the OCA. Marylin Shannon, the vice chairwoman of the Oregon GOP, had a spot on the program to give an opening prayer. In short order, she praised the Grants Pass woman accused of shooting an abortion doctor in Wichita and thanked the Lord ``for Lon Mabon and the vision you put in his heart.''

    Let's check that again. Marilyn Shannon praises a terrorist who shot a doctor while introducing John McCain, and not only does he stay, he stands up and gives a fundraising address for these terrorist-lovers?

    Outrageous. Will John McCain do what he should have done 15 years ago - and denounce the domestic terrorists who shoot doctors who provide legal medical services?

    America is waiting.


    [via Blue Oregon]

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    Basic Rights Oregon Endorses Jeff Merkley for U.S. Senate

    Tuesday, April 08, 2008

    This morning Basic Rights Oregon weighed in on the U.S. Senate race between Jeff Merkley and Steve Novick. Basic Rights Oregon announced that it has endorsed Jeff Merkley for U.S. Senate in Oregon's Democratic Primary.

    Jeff Merkley Senate Oregon"Jeff Merkley has been a strong ally on issues important to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community," said Basic Rights Oregon Executive Director Jeana Frazzini. "As House Speaker, Jeff led the charge on passing Oregon's domestic partnership law, giving committed couples the legal recognition they need to care for one another in a crisis. And he championed a nondiscrimination law ensuring that no one in Oregon can lose their home or be fired from their job just because they are gay or lesbian. We need a fighter like Jeff Merkley in the U.S. Senate."

    The endorsement decision was made by a vote of the organization's Board of Directors on the basis of written questionnaires and in-person interviews with the two major candidates.

    Frazzini said Merkley's record makes him the clear choice in the race. "Jeff's leadership brings people together to do what's right for Oregon," she said.


    On another note today is BRO's Executive Director, Jeana Frazzini's birthday. Happy birthday Jeana!

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    Oregon Anti-Gay's RE-FILE Domestic Partnership Repeal

    Tuesday, April 01, 2008

    Racist and homophobic Oregon State Senator Gary George and Sal Esquivel made a stupid mistake when filing IP 144 to repeal Oregon's Domestic Partnership law - the language in the initiative petition read "civil unions". Not surprisingly it took them this long to figure out the problem. They just re-filed, making it IP 146.

    Based on IP 144, Basic Rights Oregon and the ACLU filed comments with the state to throw out IP 144 due to the fact that it was, well - without fact.

    So here we go. Oregon's most extreme are officially going after a repeal of something as basic as Oregon's Domestic Partnership law. Maybe they should follow in the footsteps of some other evangelical organizations in the news recently who are going after issues that people actually feel a moral obligation to combat. See Evangelical Group Seeks To Move Away From Anti-Gay Focus.

    More to come.

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    ACLU Asks State of Oregon to Reject Repeal of Oregon Domestic Partnership Law

    Sunday, March 30, 2008

    The American Civil Liberties Union has asked the State of Oregon to reject the draft ballot initiative (IP 145) to repeal the Oregon Equality Act - an anti-discrimination law for sexual minorities - based on the initiative's "unconstitutionality and incomprehensibility," according to initiaitive comments filed this week with the Oregon Secretary of State.

    Additional letters of comment came both from the ACLU and Basic Rights Oregon, addressing a range of concerns regarding the initiative's language, the contentious draft ballot title, and the very comprehensibility of the initiative.

    According to the Secretary of State Elections office, any letters seeking dismissal of a proposed ballot initiative are passed onto Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers, who ultimately decides on the certification fate of ballot initiatives.

    The response from Myers - including a certified ballot title, if so approved - is expected April 8 for IP 144, and April 9 for IP 145.

    Via Just Out.

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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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    More Inequities in Oregon's Domestic Partnership Law

    Friday, February 22, 2008

    Hey gays! Have you ever wanted to be two people at the same time? Well now you can!

    It looks as though gay and lesbian couples who register as Domestic Partners in Oregon are running into expensive roadblocks when it comes to establishing their own identity - and no not their sexual identity - their actual names.

    Under Oregon's Domestic Partnership law you are able to take you partner's name, or as many do, hyphenate your last names. Sounds great right? Well sure, you no longer have to pay to legally change your name in Oregon. The complication comes at the federal level. Try telling the Social Security Administration that you have changed your name. 'You are who? No you aren't.", they will say to you.

    So this is what happens. Your name is legally changed at the state level but in no way shape or form is that recognized by federal agencies like the Social Security Admin. So you basically have two names. Could get quite confusing in hundreds of situations even with passports.

    The only way around this is to pay a $200 fee to the feds. So now a family has to pay hundreds just for what should be a no brainer.

    As one couple told us:

    We went ahead and petitioned the court to allow us to change our names legally because we found out that the Social Security office would not honor our DP certificate as a legal name change doc. So we had to pay $200.00 for something that we would have received automatically if we were a man/woman couple.


    Just another example of an inequity in Oregon's Domestic Partnership law. Something that a straight couple who gets married never even has to think about.

    Related Post:
    OR Domestic Partnership Law Already Bleeding Inequities

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    Sherwood Principal Chooses Anti-Gay Over Anti-Bully Message

    This news comes out of Sherwood Oregon (about 15 minutes outside downtown). Imagine this, not even a week after a 15 year old middle school student was shot in the head by his 14 year old classmate because of his perceived sexual orientation. This situation in Sherwood disturbs me so much.

    Sherwood Middle School drama students would rather cancel their production of "Higher Ground" than give in to their principal's request for revisions.

    The cast of "Higher Ground," an original play written by the school's drama teacher, Jennie Brown, that explores the effects of bullying and hate speech and that was originally scheduled to open this weekend, met Thursday, Feb. 21, to discuss Principal Anna Pittioni's announcement that the play was "too mature" for middle school students.

    "They had two options," Pittioni said. "They could vote to work on revisions or to not revise the play."

    (Principal Pittoni had two options as well. To choose to say that intolerance will not be tolerated or that intolerance will be tolerated and even more than that - protected. She sadly chose the latter.)

    Not revising the script would mean not performing the play at the middle school. In the end, 35 of the 47 cast members present voted against making revisions, Pittioni said.

    Pittioni postponed the play earlier in the week and said some of the content was too mature for her students.

    "Based on the broad audience of students we serve, I believe that the existing content exceeds the maturity of many of our students," Pittioni wrote in an announcement sent out to parents on Wednesday, Feb. 20. "Additionally, I believe that the play can be revised and performed at a later date."

    As some parents put it:

    "The whole play has just a fabulous message with it and it's about bullying," said Horner.

    On Tuesday, Horner sent an e-mail to local media and said he supported addressing the topic, having been a victim of bullying himself.

    "To think that 'Higher Ground,' a play that confronts the abusive reality of bullying, was canceled three days prior to the performance because of a reference to homosexuality and other contemporary topics that some may have difficulty acknowledging, saddens me," he wrote.

    Sarah Grant, whose 13-year-old son, Freddie, has a major part in the middle school production, she was upset with the late date of the postponement.


    For a play that had been approved by school counselors, only to be cancelled by Principal Anna Pittioni mere days prior to it going on stage is ridiculous.

    This is theater. Theater is art and expression - in addition, this production happens to have a great message.

    Sadly, the message that has been sent to the kids at the school by Principal Anna Pittioni cancelling it is the polar opposite of the message that is delivered by the play. It is a sad day for Sherwood Middle School, especially for the kids who get bullied on a daily basis for any number of reasons.

    Shame on Principal Anna Pittioni.

    Our friend Recovering Straight Girl, who is a mother herself, put it quite eloquently:
    Amazing isn't it? That Portland, Oregon is one of the most diverse and affirming cities in the United States but if you leave the city limits and drive just a mere 17 miles out of town; you are in a different world all together.

    A local middle school administrator in Sherwood, a suburb of the Portland Metro area has halted a production of a play that promotes tolerance and has an anti-bullying message. She has deemed the play "too mature" for middle school students. Too mature? The students themselves stated in interviews yesterday that the content of the play is "tame" compared to what they deal with in real life. And in a world where 15 year old middle-school students are murdered because of their sexual orientation and gender identity, I think that it's vital that middle school students receive the most diversity training that they can.

    Unfortunately this issue is not about promoting diversity or tolerance. It's about tolerating intolerance.

    By promoting tolerance and acceptance, this school district is afraid that they will look as though they promote some kind of "alternate lifestyle."

    Please.

    This is a public school filled with students who have to deal with this crap every single solitary day. By statistical data, 10% of them are GLBTQ themselves, and some of them even have GLBTQ parents and family members.

    This is outrageous and embarrassing that this kind of bigotry has a voice and it's voice is so prominent.


    And as the Statesman Journal put up their list of "Winners and Losers" they wisely included this:
    LOSER: Sherwood Middle School. The administration postponed a school play about bullying, contending that it was too mature for some students and would offend some people. Get real. Students know what's going on in society -- and in their schools.


    I encourage you to email the administration at Sherwood Middle School let them know what you think about promoting a nasty message of tolerating intolerance in her school. Here are the contacts:

    Anna Pittioni - Principal: APittioni@sherwood.k12.or.us
    Steve Emmert - Assistant Principal: SEmmert@sherwood.k12.or.us
    Chris Stevens - Dean of Students: CStevens@sherwood.k12.or.us
    Marianne Funderhide - Dean of Students: MFunderhide@sherwood.k12.or.us

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    OR Domestic Partnership Law Already Bleeding Inequities

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008

    This sort of makes you wonder what other situations a couple may run into in times of crisis. Take a medical emergency. Should we all be prepared with our Declaration of Domestic Partnership Forms to bring to the hospital if something terrible was to happen to our domestically partnered other half?

    Imagine a straight married couple having to bring their marriage license to the hospital just for their husband or wife to prove that they are actually just that - their husband of wife.

    Picture it... "Oh what? My husband was shot? OK I will be a little late to the hospital, I need to run home to get my marriage certificate."

    When Sally Sparks and her partner, Heather Dugas, registered as domestic partners at the Multnomah County Building the day the new state law took effect on February 4, Sparks was overdue with their second child.

    "It was a good feeling that [the law] went through and we were going to walk into the hospital as domestic partners," Sparks says.

    When their son was born on February 10, Sparks and Dugas made sure to bring their certificate of domestic partnership to the hospital, just in case.

    [..]

    The law took effect in time for their son's birth, but the women still ran into red tape. Instead of noting Dugas' name on the birth certificate forms -- which had not changed to reflect the new law, and only had spaces for a mother and father -- a clerk at Providence St. Vincent Family Maternity Center handed her a separate form. Marked "For informational purposes only. This is not a legal document," the form has spaces for info on the child, mother, and partner. According to a note from the hospital clerk to Sparks, the form is "supplied to the state to be kept with your son's birth certificate."


    Read about the whole debacle over at the Portland Mercury.

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    A Recap of A Day in Oregon's Civil Rights History

    Monday, February 04, 2008

    At last count at 4pm this afternoon, Multnomah County had registered 126 same-sex couples as Domestic Partners. We assume that number went up as the day ended.

    Obviously this does not include the other 35 counties in Oregon. For some reason I thought that there would be a lot more couples in line today, though then again there isn't a huge rush as there was in Multnomah County back in 2004 during the stint with marriages. It seems that couples may not view it this time around as "we better do it today as it may not be here tomorrow", and they shouldn't view it as that. We're good here in Oregon, at least for the time being.

    It's pretty amazing to think back to the 2005 legislative session where our bill passed the Senate only to be killed in the House by former Republican Speaker Karen Minnis. I remember those rallies on the steps of the capitol, the hearings and the floor sessions as if they were yesterday. A very short video from my digital camera from way back when is below.



    Then came 2006 when Oregon's GLBT community, led by Basic Rights Oregon, was determined to change the make up of the legislature into one that was fair-minded. I remember election night (at least the early part of the night) when a blue wave swept over Oregon. It was an incredible victory. There was no doubt that it would be an uphill battle even in the Democrat controlled legislature, but we knew that victory was ours for the taking.

    Snap forward to May 9th, the day that the Governor signed into law two landmark bills. Oregon's Anti-Discrimination law that went into effect on January 1st, 2007 and Oregon's Domestic Partnership law - that although delayed for a little over a month - is the law of the land as of today.

    Here is video from the historic signing:





    What a fantastic day to be an Oregonian.

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    Hundreds of Couples Line Up Around Oregon

    oregon domestic partnershipThis morning marked the first day that Oregon's Domestic Partnership law was officially back on the books after Friday's ruling in an Oregon federal court.

    Hundreds of couples lined up at county offices across the state to officially get registered as Domestic Partners (congrats to all of you!). In Portland, some arrived at the Multnomah County Building near the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge as early as 4 a.m. to get in line for the building's 8 a.m. opening.

    We'll bring you more pictures throughout the day.

    portland oregon domestic partnership

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    Oregon's Domestic Partnership Law - Effective Monday (More Details)

    Friday, February 01, 2008

    In an unexpected ruling from the bench today at about 4:20pm, Judge Mosman through out the case by out-of-state, anti-gay forces, allowing Oregon's Domestic Partnership law to go into effect immediately.

    The ruling prompted applause and cheering in front of the courthouse and was greeted by honking cars passing by on SW 3rd Ave downtown.

    Here are the details of what happened in the courtroom (via Just Out):

    Only two witnesses, handwriting experts, were called today to be cross examined (all witnesses submitted their testimony by deposition). Heather Carlson, a forensics expert who trains clerks in the elections office, made a very weak case for the standard by which clerks use in determining the genuineness of signatures. Mosman later chastised the Secretary of State on that count.
    Throughout the hearing, the plaintiffs, the Alliance Defense Fund, attempted to argue that signers of petition 303, which attempted to refer Oregon's domestic partnership law to voters, were constitutionally entitled to have their signatures counted, just as participants are in the vote-by-mail process.

    The Secretary of State's attorney and Basic Rights Oregon's attorney argued that these signatures were not at all protected by the strict scrutiny of voters on ballots and that the petition process is actually at the whim of the petition controller, who is by no means a state official.

    Although Mosman's ruling from the bench was swift, it was thorough. He engaged with attorneys throughout their closing arguments, asking both sides tough questions and citing a range of precedent that only the attorneys were following.
    Mosman's ruling, which he said would be available this evening by clicking here, basically stated that the state never promised petition signers that their "votes" would be counted, therefore, they were not entitled to due process (he acknowledged this was a cruel thing to say) such as having their signatures rehabilitated.

    Mosman agreed that calling every "disenfranchised" signer, which statistically represented 20 other signers, would place an unrealistic burden on the Secretary of State's office, which has 30 days to verify the signatures. He further said it was impractical to let one person speak for 20.

    Alliance Defense Fund attorney Austin Nimocks told the media after the hearing that this was a sad day for Oregonians who sign petitions with the belief that our voices will be heard. He confirmed everyone's guess that an appeal will be filed. He would not extrapolate.

    Marylin Shannon, a spokeswoman for the ad hoc committee of petition gatherers, also confirmed that she was ready to call on her resources for a reversal of this ruling.

    Jeana Frazzini spoke for Basic Rights Oregon, saying that although she was surprised that Mosman ruled today, the outcome was expected. "I expected to win on the merits of this case," she said.


    In any case, same-sex couples here in Oregon now have Domestic Partnerships. Though it is the law right this second, county buildings will not be open until 9am on Monday morning.

    We'll be down at the county building snapping some photos at the Multnomah County building here in Portland and we will bring you those photos of this amazing, long awaited day.

    What a long, long journey this has been.

    IMPORTANT DETAILS IF YOU ARE PLANNING ON GETTING DOMESTIC PARTNERED:
    Oregon has already made the Declaration of Domestic Partnership form available (they sure wasted no time getting this up!). you can download them here: http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/chs/order/dp.shtml. IMPORTANT: This MUST be printed on legal size paper for them to accept it.

    For additional details - please visit Basic Rights Oregon's Domestic Partnership Resource Guide located here.

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    Oregon's Domestic Partnership Law - Effective Monday

    The judge ruled against the anti-gay. out-of-state bigots on ALL COUNTS.

    Come 9AM on Monday morning same-sex couples can get a Domestic Partnership.

    More to come.

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    OREGON WINS: DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIPS GO INTO EFFECT

    I just got a text message from a very reliable source saying that the judge in Lemons v Bradbury has ruled in our favor - meaning Oregon's Domestic Partnership law goes into effect.

    There may be an appeal - BUT the injunction has been lifted!

    More to come and I hope I'm not juming the gun. The text message said "We Won".

    AMAZING. Oregon, welcome your domestic partnerships.

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    Video: Wednesday's Rally for Equality in Portland



    Thanks Portland Mercury!

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    I'm Sorry. This is Bullshit, I Need to Vent.

    I just published a very matter of fact post on today's court hearing, but what doesn't come through is my incredible anger, disgust and contempt (and as most of you know, I typically don't have a problem holding back my feelings on this blog).

    I'm outraged that these out-of-state, anti-gay extremist groups who have infiltrated the courts are parading around as "trying to fix the process". It's a lie. It's a joke. It's bullshit.

    Up until the point that they filed suit, all they spouted was anti-gay filth. Absolute filth. The Portland based attorney brought in on the anti-gay side by the out-of-state group was there at the legislative hearings on the bill. He testified against the bills - and not only in 2007, but in 2005. He has a long track record.

    These forces are masquerading themselves as saints attempting to alter the Oregon initiative process - when in reality it has little to do with the process itself, but the end result. The end result being to advance their extremist, out-of-state, anti-gay agenda here in Oregon.

    They are blind to the facts of the issue. Blind to the fact that these INCREDIBLY basic rights and responsibilities that come with Oregon's Domestic Partnerships do nothing more, though more importantly nothing less than grant committed same-sex couples and their families safety and security. The basic right to take care of one another in times of crisis.

    So hey, fuck you, fuck your falsehoods, fuck your lies and fuck your "god". For my God is one of love and compassion, not one of hatred and bigotry. Leave us alone and get the hell out of Oregon - this is not your state to screw over and you have NO right to attack my family and steal what is not yours for the taking. You have tainted my state and for that the people of Oregon will not forget you. You are a stain in our history books.

    Be it in Lemons v. Bradbury - or in November when Oregonians decide, fairness, justice and equality will prevail. Lets not forget a major ruling back in Parman v Oregon earlier this year. Judge Eric Bloch ruled that if Oregon's Domestic Partnership law did not go into effect, it would cause a "constitutional crisis".

    So no matter what - Domestic Partnerships will happen, it is just a matter of when and these anti-gay groups need to realize that they are fighting the inevitable.

    Whew. Glad I got that out.

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    Right Now In Oregon Federal Court Your Future is Being Decided

    Starting at 10am this morning, a federal court has been hearing from both sides of the Lemons v. Bradbury issue.

    They'll here from a myriad of people including the Secretary of State's office, handwriting experts, anti-gay attorney's from the Alliance Defense Fund and of course Basic Rights Oregon and their counsel.

    While the fate of Oregon's Domestic Partnership law may or may not be decided today - at least we have made it to this day. Judge Mosman, who is hearing the case, made it clear at the first hearing in late December that he saw the harm that a delay in this law would cause, therefore he wanted to keep the timeline as short as possible.

    So today we could see two outcomes. He could rule from the bench based on the close to 5 hours of testimony - or he could make a ruling in about a week to two weeks.

    We should know in just a few hours. Stay tuned.

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    Tonight: An Estimated 1500 to Rally in Downtown Portland

    Wednesday, January 30, 2008

    Early estimations say that there could be upwards of 1500 people filling Terry Shrunk Plaza at 5:30 tonight - all rallying for equality. As most of you know Friday is the federal court hearing on Oregon's Domestic Partnership law. We probably won't know the fate of the law on Friday as the judge is expected to take some time to make his ruling. Possibly a few weeks.

    Not caught up on everything that has happened? Here is some of our recent coverage:
    DELAYED: Oregon Domestic Partnership Law
    Squashed: The Hope and Dreams of Oregon Families
    Oregon Domestic Partnership Law Delay: What's Next?
    Photo Journal: Portland's Candlelight Vigil
    Judge Mosman Grants BRO's Motion to Intervene in Lemons v Bradbury


    Stand Up and Be Counted TONIGHT. For more info on TONIGHT'S rally - click here.

    Also - check out Jeana Frazini's (Exec. Dir. of Basic Rights Oregon) guest piece on Blue Oregon.

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    Portland Attorney Rips Into Oregon's Anti-Gays

    Thursday, January 24, 2008

    Well known Portland Attorney Beth Allen who has played large roles in the Li v. Oregon and Martinez v. Oregon cases has penned a no hold barred op-ed in the Oregonian today blasting anti-gay forces who have infiltrated Oregon. These forces are masquerading themselves as saints attempting to alter the Oregon initiative process - when in reality it has little to do with the process itself, but the end result. The end result being to advance their extremist, out-of-state, anti-gay agenda here in Oregon.

    Allen asks the question, "At what cost do we unravel our process?".

    And here is her op-ed:

    The Legislature last year passed a bill that would finally grant Oregon's gay couples state rights and responsibilities similar to those of married couples. The governor signed the bill in May, to go into effect on Jan. 1.

    Some Oregonians, angered by the Legislature's vote, attempted to refer the issue to the ballot. They gathered petition signatures, but their usual constituency had apparently grown tired of the divisive issue, and the ballot measure's proponents turned in for review less than 62,000 signatures. They needed 55,179 valid signatures.

    The process used to determine the validity of the signatures was the same process that has been used for years. The secretary of state's office employs a statistically appropriate sampling method to determine whether enough signatures are likely to meet the threshold number of valid signatures. This allows the state to avoid the burden of verifying every single signature, which would be prohibitively costly.

    While reviewing the signatures submitted for the referral, people for and against the ballot measure peered over the shoulders of the signature verifiers, often offering comment. But unless there was a good reason to doubt the veracity of any signature, it was counted. By Oct. 8, the ballot measure proponents knew that the number of signatures they submitted was insufficient.

    All of this should have come as no surprise. Oregonians (and, yes, too often out-of-staters) have been engaging in this process for decades. It's well-known that some signatures gathered in the petition process on Oregon's streets will be invalid, so it's advisable for advocates to submit significantly more than the threshold amount to ensure success. In this case, they didn't. And most people in Oregon breathed a sigh of relief -- one less discriminatory ballot measure to divide the state.

    The days, weeks and months ticked by. And then, just as the law was about to go into effect, enter Joseph Infranco, an out-of-state lawyer with something called the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative anti-gay group. He ran to federal court to cry foul on the state. And now, we all must wait for the law to go into effect while he attempts to argue why our state should review signatures the way he wants them reviewed.

    To Joseph Infranco, I say this: This is not a football game, as portrayed in the analogy of your commentary in The Oregonian ("Hijacking Oregon's democratic process," Jan. 16), and no one was cheated of the opportunity to participate in democracy.

    What you clearly don't understand is the damage that you are doing to the democratic process. If you and your anti-gay allies are successful, the victory will be Pyrrhic. It will become more difficult and much more expensive to get any measure on Oregon's ballot. If unsuccessful (my expectation), you will have wasted Oregonians' tax dollars, which are being used to defend our state's process, and hurt real Oregon families who could have benefited from the law while it was held up in court.

    Oregonians will rue the day you rode into town. When you're done, you'll ride away, probably to muck about in some other state's political processes, looking for ways to oppress the civil rights of people you find distasteful.

    Oregonians, on the other hand, will be left to wonder: Are we so afraid of gay people committing to one another that we're willing to allow outsiders to unravel our initiative process and continue to divide our state?

    Only time will tell.

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    Judge Mosman Grants BRO's Motion to Intervene in Lemons v Bradbury

    Thursday, January 03, 2008

    We just received word that counsel representing Basic Rights Oregon has been granted their motion to intervene in Lemons v. Bradbury. The motion was filed Wednesday and although the judge had two weeks to make a decision, it only took him one day to approve it.

    Folks this is some fantastic news. This will give Basic Rights Oregon the proper standing in the case, enabling them to ensure that the voices of hundreds of families and committed couples are heard before the court.

    The interveners in the case include:

  • Basic Rights Oregon
  • Jeana Frazzini, plaintiff in Parman v. State of Oregon et al, in addition to being the new Executive Director of Basic Rights Oregon
  • Erin Sexton Taylor, a woman who is in a committed partnership and is expecting her first child in May
  • Sally Sparks, also in a committed long-term relationship and is expecting second child in February

    More to come.

    RELATED POSTS:
    BREAKING: Basic Rights Oregon Files Motion to Intervene

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  • Photo Journal: Portland's Candlelight Vigil

    Wednesday, January 02, 2008



    While today would have marked the day that committed same-sex couples in Oregon could enter into Domestic Partnerships, we instead gathered with nearly 500 others to join side-by-side in candlelight in dedication to upholding the law. While no one can forget the nearly 35 year struggle for a statewide anti-discrimination law, we also cannot forget that last Friday the 28th, a federal judge put Oregon's Domestic Partnership law on hold for at least a month - pending another hearing on February 1.

    I wanted to share some photos of this evening's ceremony which was on of seven across the state. Other cities south of Portland brought about 300 people. Photos below the recent story links.

    Here are some photo highlights. Sorry about the lack of quality on some of them.

    RELATED POSTS (old to new):

  • Squashed: The Hope and Dreams of Oregon Families
  • Judge Who Made Yesterday's Anti-Gay Ruling Has Shady Past?
  • Oregon Domestic Partnership Law Delay: What's Next?
  • One Oregon, One Hope: A Community in Mourning
  • BREAKING: Basic Rights Oregon Files Motion to Intervene

    Candlelight Vigil Portland

    Nearly 500 people attended the vigil at the Q Center in Portland. Cops closed the street out front as it was so full inside, they began to fill the streets.
    Candlelight Vigil Portland

    Basic Rights Oregon's former Executive Director Roey Thorpe.
    Roey Thorpe

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  • BREAKING: Basic Rights Oregon Files Motion to Intervene

    This JUST in. Basic Rights Oregon, in cooperation with their counsel, has filed a motion to intervene in Lemons v. Bradbury. If granted by Judge Mosman, this would give Basic Rights Oregon standing in the case, allow BRO to work with the state to defend the law and ensure that the interests of Oregon families are represented fairly before the court.

    Details are still coming in, but here is what we know so far aside from the above.

    The interveners in the case would include:

  • Basic Rights Oregon
  • Jeana Frazzini, plaintiff in Parman v. State of Oregon et al, in addition to being the new Executive Director of Basic Rights Oregon
  • Erin Sexton Taylor, a woman who is in a committed partnership and is expecting her first child in May
  • Sally Sparks, also in a committed long-term relationship and is expecting second child in February

    Judge Mosman has two weeks to make the decision as to whether or not he will allow this motion. Opponents will have a chance to way in on the motion to intervene.

    More details to come as well as an interview with one of the expecting mothers.

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  • Statewide Candlelight Vigils TONIGHT!

    Candlelight Vigil Oregon

    Tonight all across Oregon there will be candlelight vigils held - this comes on the heels of a federal judge halting Oregon's Domestic Partnership law, that would have gone into effect today, until at least February 1st. On February 1 there will be a hearing on the matter and the judge will then decide whether of not our law will go into effect. For more on the background of the story we direct you to an earlier post.

    Those of us from Gay Rights Watch will be at the Portland vigil and we strongly encourage you to join us in masses. This is all part of the massive response from Basic Rights Oregon. Our community, be it straight or gay, must join together and stand up against injustice to our fellow Oregonians.

    Portland
    The Q Center (69 SE Taylor)
    5:30 - 7:00 pm

    Eugene
    Grace Chapel (1166 Oak Street)
    5:30 - 7:00 pm

    Corvallis
    Meet at the First United Methodist Church Community Center (11th and Jackson) at 5:30, then walk to the Benton County Courthouse (120 NW Fourth).
    Adjourn at 6:30 to Iovino's Restaurant.
    This event was organized jointly between Corvallis-Albany PFLAG and Corvallis BRAT.

    Bend
    Candlelight Vigil and Celebration of Equality
    Meet at 5:30 at the corner of Wall and Greenwood.
    Afterwards, join us for a celebration of all relationships at The Summit at 125 Oregon St.
    This event was organized jointly between BRO and the Human Dignity Coalition

    Ashland
    Ashland First Congregational United Church of Christ
    717 Siskiyou Boulevard
    5:30 - 7:00 pm

    Salem
    Salem City Hall (555 Liberty St. SE)
    Meet at the north entrance to city hall (the end towards the creek). Supporters will gather under the overhang near the fountain.

    Pendleton
    Courthouse clock tower (corner of SE 4th and Court Ave.) 5:30pm
    Candles will be provided. Dress warmly!

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    One Oregon, One Hope: A Community in Mourning

    Monday, December 31, 2007

    Following Friday's ruling from a Multnomah County Federal Court delaying Oregon's Domestic Partnership law from going into effect on January 1st (story here), there are a myriad of emotions swirling around each and every one of our heads.

    The sorrow, the anger, the crushing of a thousand dreams, the basic aspiration that one day very soon each and every Oregon family would be granted their basic human right to take care of one another in times of crisis.

    Right now we feel defeated. Right now we feel trampled on. For far too long we have fought tooth and nail to just get to this day. And now with the banging of a gavel, we again are forced to wait in a state of what seems like perpetual limbo. Many of us want to take to the streets demanding that our voices be heard and be heard loud... but that won't get our families anywhere. Right now we must remain focused on those actions that can truly make a positive difference. Actions that will show the strength and unity of our community and allies.

    The magnitude of what we as Oregonians have accomplished to get to this day cannot and will not go unnoticed. For many of us it is far too easy to become discouraged. My fellow Oregonians, we have been here before and what did we do? We dusted ourselves off and got right back up.

    As a voice in this community I urge all of us to give everything we've got to give. We are so close to putting an end to inequality for gay and lesbian couples. If we give up right now - we could lose it all.

    I call upon all of you. Gay, straight, fellow Oregonians and fellow non-Oregonians. We can create lasting change in Oregon by taking the opportunity to close the book on this chapter of history.

    Please join my partner and me in making a donation to the one organization in Oregon that has the power, the means and knowhow to seal the deal on equality. Click here to make a donation to Basic Rights Oregon. They have set up a legal defense fund specifically for this case and your gift is 100% tax- deductible.

    Again, whether you are straight or gay has no bearing. We're all in this together, one Oregon, one hope and one shared vision of basic equality. Please make a contribution to the Basic Rights Oregon legal fund now. Be it $25 or $500, each and every dollar helps. Or, make a $60 contribution - the exact amount that it would have (and will someday soon!) cost to register for a Domestic Partnership.

    And for those of us craving an opportunity to demonstrate our strength as a community, meet up at Q Center (69 SE Taylor at Water Avenue) for a candlelight vigil organized by BRO on Wed., January 2nd from 5:30 to 7pm. Community leaders, our families, neighbors and allies will be there to stand with us, and together we will make sure the public understands the harm this delay will cause to committed couples and our families.

    I leave you now with the words of a dear friend. Her beautiful words sum up what we're feeling and offers her very personal account of her journey to equality.

    Did you hear that sound?

    That's the sound of me being kicked in the stomach again. Yeah, it hurts. It's the same pain I felt after Measure 36, when the state ruled my marriage was invalid.

    There it is again. That sound.
    When we received the refund check from the county for our marriage license.

    That sound? I hear it every day. Every week. All the time. It's the sound of inequalities of gay and lesbian couples in Oregon who are denied the benefits of marriage that our friends, family and other members of the Oregon community enjoy.

    Enjoy? They're actually benefits that really matter mainly in times of life or death. The stories I've heard..of the partner of a war veteran denied being handed the flag at his partner's funeral. Of an emergency room scenario where a partner is denied access to be at the bedside of their loved one. Of a partner whose name was crossed through on their child's birth certificate because she was not "wed" to the birth mother. The list goes on and on of the stories I've heard. They're horrible, and tragic, and they hurt.

    And today? There's the sound again.

    Just days before AdRi and I planned on going to the county courthouse and registering as domestic partners, a judge has delayed the laws. Thanks to the outside influence of an Arizona based organization fighting the laws here in Oregon, AdRi and I will just cool our heels. Again. And wait. Despite that we've been together over ten years. Despite that we celebrated our marriage with friends and family 3 years ago. Despite.....the list could go on forever, really.

    Sigh. Yes, we'll wait. We'll wait to stand in line to get a partial list of benefits that the majority of people in this country benefit from, when this makes it through the courts.


    Make the difference. Unite with your family, friends and neighbors and make a contribution to the BRO legal fund to ensure that Oregon's Domestic Partnership law rightly goes into law. Again, it is 100% tax-deductable so make your donation quick before the end of the year if you'd like to get it on your 2007 taxes.

    Candlelight Vigil Wednesday in Portland
    Join with us and a community that supports you, at a candlelight vigil, Wednesday, January 2nd, at Q Center with Basic Rights Oregon. 5:30-7pm. 69 SE Taylor (at Water Avenue)

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    Oregon Domestic Partnership Law Delay: What's Next?

    Saturday, December 29, 2007

    What's Next?
    U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman will hear arguments Feb. 1 about whether the state correctly counted petition signatures gathered by opponents of domestic partnerships. If he rules for the state, the law takes effect immediately, and gay couples can register. If he rules against the state, opponents want the judge to order a statewide vote on domestic partnerships. Either way, his decision can be appealed and probably will be.

    Also, I just came across some info from Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams:

    We can help.

    Oregon's domestic partnership law is a matter of basic fairness to all Portlanders and Oregonians.

    I will ask the Portland City Council to authorize the Office of the City Attorney to provide legal help as needed to fight off this out-of-state effort to block implementation of Oregon's domestic partnership law.


    In case you have missed the coverage of Oregon's Domestic Partnership law getting a temporary restraining order halting it for at least a month - here is the wrap up of some blog coverage and traditional news coverage.

    From us (oldest to most recent):
  • DELAYED: Oregon Domestic Partnership Law
  • Squashed: The Hope and Dreams of Oregon Families
  • Judge Who Made Yesterday's Anti-Gay Ruling Has Shady Past?

    Associated Press:
  • Oregon Domestic Partnership Law Halted

    LeLo in NoPo:
  • Did you hear that sound?

    Willamette Week:
  • More Details On The Temporary Injunction to Domestic Partnership

    Just Out:
  • Making Sense of the Injunction

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

    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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    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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    DELAYED: Oregon Domestic Partnership Law

    Details are just filtering in but what we do know is that anti-gay forces have succeeded in delaying Oregon's Domestic Partnership law. The law, slated to go into effect on Jan. 1, is now delayed until February 1st, 2008 - then the anti-gay groups will go for a permanent stay via the court.

    More to come shortly.

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    UPDATE: Oral Arguments Postponed Until 2pm Today

    UPDATE: 3:20pm - Calls made to various sources for a status update. No status to report as of yet. More to come.

    Due to the State's motion to quash the subpoenas to the county clerks, the Court rescheduled the TRO/PI hearing for 2PM Friday afternoon. The Judge will conduct a telephone hearing at 10AM on the State's motion to quash the subpoenas.

    We were going to be there live blogging at 10am this morning and now that it is postponed we cannot make the 2pm.

    We'll provide an update as soon as we hear what happens.

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    LIVE BLOGGING From Federal Court - FRIDAY 10am

    Monday, December 24, 2007

    iPhone appleWe'll be blogging live from the first oral arguments this Friday starting at 10am. The case, Lemons v. Bill Bradbury (Oregon Secretary of State) and a bunch of other random people that the sue happy "Alliance Defense Fund" and "Restore America" are challenging after their inability to get their anti-gay referendum on the ballot. They are seeking an injunction/restraining order to stop Domestic Partnerships from going into law on January 1st. They've had since October to file this suit and they waited until now.

    Basic Rights Oregon has submitted a friend of the court brief and have retained the counsel of Margaret Olney - not to mention the fact that they have an amazing legal team from the best firms across the state who work pro bono. All great people.

    In any case, we'll be there. Hopefully they will have wireless and allow laptops - otherwise we'll be blogging via iPhones!

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    Multnomah County Prepares for Domestic Partnership Law

    Wednesday, December 19, 2007

    domestic partnershipMultnomah County announces that they are as ready as it can be, taking all necessary steps to assist in the implementation of Oregon's Domestic Partnership on January 2nd. Because January 1st is a holiday, Declaration of Domestic Partnerships won't be given out until the 2nd.

    Below are some very important instructions in case you and your partner are planning on getting registered.


    Today we spoke with the fabulous Karol Collymore, Communications and Policy Manager for Commissioner Jeff Cogen.

    She said, "Here in Jeff's office, we all feel very close to the GLBT movement. We knew when HB 2007 passed we'd do whatever we could to help expedite the process for couples seeking to further protect their relationships. We found out that couples filing for domestic partnerships were going to have to notarize their forms - something not needed for marriage certificates, by the way - and that adds to the stress of the process. We made a group decision to all take the notary class to help the GLBT community and ensure for those folks getting domestic partnership forms, they would not have to leave the building and return again, just to file. We all take this personally and are proud to continue to work for equality for all Oregonians."

    Go Jeff Cogen's office!


    From Multnomah County:

    When the Oregon Family Fairness Act takes effect January 2, same-sex couples throughout Oregon will be eligible to register under the new domestic partnership system created by the law. Multnomah County has been making preparations to ensure smooth and efficient business operations after the new law is implemented.

    The county’s Assessment and Taxation division has been in charge of planning and will process domestic partnerships in the same way as marriage licenses. Plans include creating orderly spaces for higher than average numbers of people in the building’s lobby if needed, focusing staff resources in customer service areas and ensuring that all other county business will continue uninterrupted.

    “We're going to be ready to start certifying domestic partnerships the moment our doors open on January 2,” said Carol Ford, director the county management, which oversees marriage licenses and domestic partnerships. “Multnomah County has undertaken a thorough planning process and we expect everything to run very smoothly.”

    The new law allows same-sex couples, when one of whom is a resident of Oregon and both are over 18 years of age, to certify their partnerships in any county within the state and receive a range of civil and legal benefits previously unavailable to them.

    The form, Declaration of Domestic Partnership, will be available at Multnomah County offices beginning on January 2 and is expected to be available at the Oregon Department of Human Services Website on January 1. Those who choose to print the form from the web must use legal-sized paper (8 ½” x 14”) or Multnomah County will be required to reject the form.

    Unlike marriage licenses, the Declaration of Domestic Partnership requires no solemnization from a religious or legal official. Instead, forms require signature verifications and seal of a Notary Public. Volunteer notaries will be on site at the Multnomah County offices for the first several business days after the new law takes effect. Both parties are required to present identification for the notarization.

    Like marriage licenses, the fee is $60 to register a domestic partnership. Fees are payable in cash or certified funds only; no personal checks or credit/debit cards accepted. An ATM is available at the Multnomah Building (501 SE Hawthorne Blvd.) and business hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


    And Basic Rights Oregon is also working frantically to ensure all the bases are covered and that there will be no snags in the process as presumably hundreds line up across the state. They are also planning celebration parties around the state (more info here).

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    Response to Oregon Anti-Gay Lawsuit

    Tuesday, December 04, 2007

    In response to the lawsuit filed yesterday, Basic Rights Oregon responds - as does the Secretary of State.

    Basic Rights Oregon Executive Director John Hummel said that a lawsuit filed by anti-gay activists in a gambit to revive a failed referendum on Oregon's new domestic partnership law is completely without merit.

    "This lawsuit demonstrates our opponents' commitment to dismantling Oregon's anti-discrimination laws," Hummel said in a statement today. "We have to be vigilant, and prepared to meet them at every turn. We are confident that this case will be dismissed."

    The complaint filed in Federal Court by out of state attorneys alleges that Oregon's Secretary of State and a dozen county clerks erred by not creating special procedures to reinstate the signatures of people who said they had signed the petition, but whose signatures were found to be invalid using well established criteria.

    Basic Rights Oregon has monitored the signature verification process on many occasions over the years. The process we observed on these petitions was consistent with what we have seen year after year, Hummel said. "The Secretary of State's job is to ensure the uniform and efficient administration of elections, and we're confident that all of the proper rules and regulations were followed as usual.

    In early October, Oregon's Secretary of State certified the results of the referendum effort and found that that the petitions fell short of the number of required signatures to force a referendum on the domestic partnership law. The law takes effect on January 1, 2008.

    Hummel said the lawsuit’s chance's of success are slim to none. “On January 1st, same sex couples in committed, caring relationships will have the legal recognition they need to take care of each other," he said. "Nothing is going to prevent this law from going into effect."


    Then comes word from the Secretary of State's office. Let me just raise a glass to Scott Moore for the following statement (mainly the last sentence).

    "What it comes down to is there are statutes that govern how signatures on initiative petitions are verified and those statues were applied in exactly the same way as every other initiative petition that's delivered to this office. The law is applied fairly and neutrally across the board," says Scott Moore, chief of communications for the Secretary of State. "To bend the rules to allow for an exception in this case would be granting special privileges to a select group."

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    Oregon Anti-Gay Lawsuit Filed Today

    Monday, December 03, 2007

    Today, anti-gay fanatics filed a lawsuit in federal court against the invalidation of petition #303, an attempt to overturn Oregon's Domestic Partnership law that goes into effect in less than a month on January 1, 2008. Because honestly why not? You already failed twice at stripping the rights of Oregon families - what's one more?

    The lawsuit by the notorious extremist group "Alliance Defense Fund" was filed against the Oregon Secretary of State, as well as "several Oregon county clerks".

    First - why was it filed in federal court? Last time we checked none of the participating attorney's for the gay hating bigots were licensed to practice law in this state, but it looks like they found some jack ass attorney's to fill those shoes.

    Lets all take a step back at the big picture here. The group (Restore America) who sent the email announcing the details of this lawsuit have now moved to Tennessee. Oh what? Thanks for the reminder. They also have a major elections violation filed against them. They've taken part in a quite fraudulent scheme of raising funds. You can read more about that here.

    The following is from "Restore America" announcing the lawsuit. It's basically a bunch of bullshit but we're trying to be "fair and balanced" like their favorite news channel:

    ADF attorneys filed a lawsuit on behalf of several Oregonians whose signatures were invalidated by clerks' offices in 12 different counties. Many of the citizens sought, in person, to have their signatures revalidated since no legitimate reason existed to reject their signatures, but the clerks refused.


    You can download a copy of the complaint here. So much fun!

    No response yet from Basic Rights Oregon - I assume that will come within the next couple days depending on how serious they take this 'final anti-gay attempt of 2007'.

    Deuces queer haters.

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    Murder Strikes Community, Vigil in Portland Tuesday Night

    Monday, November 19, 2007

    On Friday night, our community lost a dear friend, Dan Callaway, who was shot and killed in the course of a robbery. Dan's partner Jonny Shultz is a long time friend and supporter of Basic Rights Oregon. He has been working as an activist in our community for years and has supported Basic Rights Oregon through fundraising, volunteering, and event planning. Johnny has been a huge player in creating STRUT, the annual fashion show that benefits Oregon's GLBT community. In this time of great sadness we want to support him and ask that you join us tomorrow in a candle light vigil.

    Candlelight Vigil:Community Comes Together

    On Tuesday November 20th all are invited to join in a candle light vigil to mourn the loss of Dan Callaway and to support his friends, family, and loved ones.

    Tuesday November 20th
    Q Center
    69 SE Taylor St.
    8:00pm

    Those in attendance are encouraged to bring candles.

    Tuesday's gathering will be an opportunity for the community to come together and support Dan's partner Jonny Shultz and family, mother Karyn Callaway and father Phil Callaway of Philomath; and younger Brother Jesse Callaway of Portland. Dan, who worked as a cancer researcher in the Oncology department of Legacy Good Samaritan, will be remembered as a community activist, avid bike commuter, the life of the party and an expert in the art of practical jokes. Jonny and those close to Dan need the love and support of their community during this sad time.

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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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    Oregon Republicans Are Bored.

    Friday, November 02, 2007

    It seems as though Oregon's own GOP has run out of steam and more importantly good ideas. The below video clearly demonstrates this point. In a recent newsletter they included this video that is a Jib Jab 'Create Your Own' video. They've put the heads of Oregon's Democratic Leadership on the bodies of can can dancers. Did I mention they only used males?

    You'd think that after the loads of money that tobacco companies have given them to kill the Healthy Kids Act that they could have had a real video made. Here is the video (more commentary below):



    I think that there is something important to be said here about the statement they are making. They way I read their intent is to make the Democratic Leadership look like 'sissy's' or as Arnold said, "girly men". I think this speaks loud and clear to the male chauvinist attitude in Oregon's GOP.

    Personally I never knew that our Governor was such a great dancer. Go Ted!

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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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    TONIGHT: About Oregon's Domestic Partnership Law

    Wednesday, October 17, 2007

    Now that Oregon's Domestic Partnership law will be going into effect on January 1st, Basic Rights Oregon is holding a "Know Your Rights" event tonight in Portland - with more to follow in other cities around the state.

    From BRO:

    Come celebrate, learn about your basic rights under the new laws, and help plan the upcoming effort to defend them.

    Wednesday, October 17th, 6:30pm. Metropolitan Community Church of Portland (2400 NE Broadway). To RSVP, contact Aubrey@basicrights.org


    The upcoming cities are:

    Eugene:
    Thursday, October 18th, 7:00pm. Whitaker Community School (21 North Grand). To RSVP, contact Becky@basicrights.org

    Corvallis:
    Thursday, October 25th, 6:30pm. Westminster House (101 NW 23rd St). To RSVP, contact Maceo@basicrights.org

    Bend:
    Monday, October 22nd, 6:30pm. Location TBA. For more info, contact Tammy@basicrights.org

    Salem:
    November 7th, 6:30pm. Willamette University Law School, Room 218. To RSVP, contact Maceo@basicrights.org

    Pendleton:
    Date TBA. For more info, contact Thomas@basicrights.org

    Southern Oregon:
    Date TBA. For more info, contact Thomas@basicrights.org

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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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    BREAKING: Oregon Anti-Gay Groups FAIL on Domestic Partnership Referendum

    Monday, October 08, 2007

    This just in! Anti-gay groups attempting to put Oregon's Domestic Partnership law on the Nov. 2008 ballot just found out that they failed to meet the required 55,179 signatures necessary.

    When they turned in their supposed "63,000" signatures on Oregon's Domestic Partnership law they came proud and confident. On initial count it turned out they actually only had 60,531. Petitions then went to counties where they were further scrutinized.

    As Basic Rights Oregon said, "The fact that they were unable to meet even this extremely low signature threshold shows how out of step they are with Oregon values."

    From the Secretary of State:

    The result of the signature verification is referendum #303 did not contain enough valid signatures to qualify to the ballot. Referendum #303 was filed on HB 2007 passed by the 2007 Oregon Legislature.

    The proposed referendum required 55,179 valid signatures to gain ballot access. The referendum contains 55,063 valid signatures, or 90.97% of the 60,531 total unverified signatures submitted for verification.


    The fight isn't quite over though in two big ways.

    First, we are still awaiting word on their attempt for a referendum on Oregon's Anti-Discrimination law. They also claimed 63,000 signatures on that one--though on initial count had a bit over 59,000. It looks to me like the attempt to force a public vote on Oregon's Anti-Discrimination law will also fail--but you never know.

    Second, the extremist fringe groups have pledged a repeal if they failed the first time. They could announce their intent any day now and they would have until July 3, 2008 to collect over 82,000 signatures.

    So to be clear - as of January 1, 2008 same-sex couples will be able to register as Domestic Partners!


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    Official: Sam Adams For Portland's Mayor

    Wednesday, October 03, 2007
    Sam Adams Portland MayorFrom OregonLive.com:

    Adams, 44, served as chief aide to Mayor Vera Katz and was elected to the City Council in 2004. As accomplishments, he cited his work to lower business taxes and deal with dangerous intersections.

    His candidacy was hardly a surprise. It has been expected ever since Mayor Tom Potter announced last month that he wouldn't seek re-election. Although a handful of unknown candidates have filed to run for mayor, no well-known figures have emerged to challenge Adams.

    If elected, Adams would be the only openly gay mayor of a top-40 U.S. city, a fact he downplayed today.

    "It might be historic, but I"m not running to be Portland's first gay mayor," he said.


    Always loved Sam and he'll have my vote. Go Sam!

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    Oregon's Anti-Gay Groups Turn in Signatures

    Wednesday, September 26, 2007

    Just minutes ago anti-gay groups turned in what they are claiming is around 63,000 signatures to the Oregon Secretary of State's office. The threshold was 55,179 leaving it unclear whether they will qualify or not.

    These petitions seek to force a public vote on Oregon's anti-discrimination law and Oregon's domestic partnership law.

    More to come...

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    Just Hours Left For Oregon's Anti-Gay Groups

    Anti-Gay petition gatherers have just 2 hours and 45 minutes to turn in 55,1798 valid signatures. Basic Rights Oregon is ready down in Salem to respond to whatever happens.

    Reports are that they have broken 60k to turn in. Stay tuned.

    -G.S.

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    Oregon's Extreme Christian Right is Pissed

    Monday, August 13, 2007

    They're mad and that is A-OK with me, I'm just not sure if I actually believe why they are mad.

    Trying to filter through the lies and rhetoric of Oregon's extreme Christian right can be a bit difficult sometimes. As much as one would like to believe that they don't fill their newsletters with lies and deception in a blatant attempt to mislead their followers can be anything but easy.

    This morning I got an email from "Restore America", this is one of the three main groups heading up the attempt to overturn Oregon's brand new Domestic Partnership law and the new statewide Anti-Discrimination law. They seem to be all up in arms about Oregon evangelical church leaders who are refusing to participate in helping them to gather signatures for these anti-family, anti-equality drives.

    Here is an excerpt from their newsletter:

    For two months now it has become increasingly clear that many, if not most, of the leading Evangelical Churches in Oregon have given up the battle to protect and preserve traditional marriage.

    Only three years ago these same churches, at the urging of Dr. James Dobson, mounted a furious and successful effort that Amended the Oregon Constitution to read that marriage was "between a man and a woman only."

    With their retreat, which has been glaring, and contradictory to earlier statements, comes the obvious conclusion that the new form of marriage called 'domestic partnerships' created by the legislature, and in violation of the Constitution, is 'okay' with them.


    They go on to cite an email from one of their supporters in which they tell the story of their church leaders not wanting to participate.

    I'm trying to draw some conclusions here. In no particular order here they are.

  • They are making shit up to get their based revved up about going out and doubling their efforts when gathering signatures, but sadly once you read the email you are left deflated and without much hope for this attempt.
  • They are serious about church leaders not wanting to be involved in this. As we saw during the legislative session, there was a bold letter from over 170 churches in Oregon who stood in solidarity with both the statewide Anti-Discrimination legislation and the Domestic Partnership bill. No objections from them, just full support and their stamp of approval.
  • In addition, they belong to a very small minority of Oregonians who see this as an equivalent to marriage. I sincerely believe that it is no secret that Domestic Partnerships seriously lack weight in comparison to marriage and in being a Christian, being able to protect your family in times of crisis is a strong Christian value. Family is a fundamental Christian value and Oregon's church leaders see this need.
  • Over 75 percent of Oregonians believe that a person should NOT be fired from their job SIMPLY because they are gay or lesbian. Included in that over 75% are evangelical church leaders.

    So what now?

    After reading their email I walked away with a sense of, well not really a sense of much. I know that with such a low threshold of signatures needed (55,179) that both of these could easily be out on the ballot, so is this simply an attempt to liven up their base or is this a move of desperation?

    My assumption is that it is somewhere in the middle of both of those. In no way, shape or form should we ever underestimate the power of our opposition and never should we give up our vigilance, but is there hope? Is it possible that we won't see Domestic Partnerships or Anti-Discrimination referendums on the 2008 ballot?

    In any case, as I said, we need to never lose that vigilance. This comes from Basic Rights Oregon late last week:
    SPOTTING PETITION FRAUD
    Folks, you are the eyes and the ears across Oregon and we need your help in spotting petition fraud by our opposition.

    If you spot a referendum petition gatherer you should:

    1.) Check to see if they're carrying Referendum Petitions #303 and #304.
    2.) CALL US immediately and tell us where, what time/date, and whether the petitioner was carrying the full text of the bills or not. (It is against the law for them to not be carrying both bills on their person.)

    If you see someone attempting to gather signatures for these anti-equality petitions, call Thomas at 503.222.6151 or email him at Thomas@basicrights.org.


    That's all for now. There are 45 days left until these anti-equality, anti-family and frankly anti-Oregon groups have until they are required to turn in signatures. That is a month-and-a-half, plenty of time for them to collect more than enough sigs.

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  • Portland Conservative Jewish Congregation To Bless Same-Sex Unions

    Wednesday, August 01, 2007

    star of davidA seemingly innocuous email went out last Friday to the 1,000 families of Portland's Jewish Congregation Neveh Shalom.

    But the contents of that communiqué from the rabbi for the synagogue affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism could be seen as a startling change of direction on one of Oregon's hottest hot-button issues: same-sex unions.

    Starting immediately, Neveh Shalom will sanctify the ceremonies of same-sex couples.

    For a traditionally more conservative sect of Judaism, Portland's Congregation Neveh Shalom in Southwest Portland has long welcomed openly gay families into its congregation, according to its leader, Rabbi Daniel Isaak, 58.

    Yet it took a seminal series of decisions in the past year at the national level by the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Conservative Movement to clear the way for Isaak's announcement.

    "Homosexuality is certainly not a new issue for Neveh Shalom," Rabbi Isaak wrote in his email message last week. "The practical impact of [this] decision is that we will sanctify the relations of Jewish same sex couples who ask that such ceremonies take place in our congregation."

    Isaak says no same-sex couples have yet stepped up to accept his offer but that his decision was right in line with other landmark civil rights decisions.

    "A generation ago we went through the same process in terms of egalitarian treatment of women in our congregation," Isaak says. "It was not long ago that interracial marriage was the hot-button topic.

    "Now," he says, "it's just something we don't even consider."

    Isaak says response has been "exceedingly positive," with one lone congregant angered more by how Isaak chose to disseminate his message than by the message.

    via Willamette Week. Read the rest and comment over there.

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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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    Oregon Court Rules Laws Discriminatory and Unconstitutional

    Monday, July 16, 2007

    This morning Basic Rights Oregon announced a victory in a court case-Parman v. Oregon. Here is a story from March of 2006 when the case was filed--below is what happened today at the press conference (the ruling was actually last Friday).

    From BRO:
    Oregon Court Rules that Oregon Laws Unconstitutionally Discriminate Against Children and Families of Same-Sex Parents

    A Multnomah County Circuit Court judge found that two Oregon state laws violate the state's constitution by discriminating against families headed by same-gender couples.

    "This decision is a tremendous win for children, for families, and for our shared Oregon value of basic fairness," said John Hummel, Executive Director of Basic Rights Oregon. "It validates the need for Oregon's new Domestic Partnership law to be implemented - not unnecessarily delayed or overturned by a referendum vote."

    Judge Eric Bloch's decision in Parman v. Oregon et al holds that two Oregon laws (ORS 109.070 and ORS 109.243) granting parental rights to married couples unconstitutionally discriminate against families headed by same-gender couples.

    Based on the landmark 1998 Tanner v. OHSU decision, Judge Bloch found that assigning benefits based on marriage, while not permitting same-sex couples access to these benefits, constitutes illegal discrimination against certain families. Plaintiffs in the case include K.D. Parman, 32, partner of nine years Jeana Frazzini, 34, and their two sons Emmett, 4, and Griffin, 1.

    "We're thrilled by Judge Bloch's decision. Our family is really no different from any other family. We simply want to be treated fairly under the law, for our kids to have the same opportunities as any other child to succeed and thrive, and to do everything in our power to keep them safe. And that includes legal recognition for our family as a family," said Parman.

    The decision brings Oregon's independent judicial branch into agreement with the Governor and Legislature, that that the state does in fact illegally discriminate against the families of same-sex couples, and that the Oregon Constitution requires this discrimination to end.

    As a remedy, Judge Bloch found that Oregon's new Domestic Partnership to be one permissible solution to the problem, provided it goes into effect as scheduled on January 1, 2008. However, the future of Oregon's new Domestic Partnership law - and the future of many Oregon families - is still in jeopardy.

    A signature-collection effort designed to delay and ultimately overturn Oregon's new Domestic Partnership law is already underway. Should this effort be successful, and Oregon's new Domestic Partnership Law be placed on the ballot, implementation of this law will be unnecessarily delayed until after the November 2008 election, and the law could be overturned altogether.

    "We now know that delaying or overturning Oregon's Domestic Partnership law would not only hurt many children and families, it could precipitate a constitutional crisis," said Hummel. "Oregon's Domestic Partnership law must be allowed to go into effect on January 1st, 2008 - without delay... as required by Oregon's constitution, and for the sake of Oregon's children and families."

    "From our family to all other Oregon families - we ask you NOT to sign the petitions that are designed to overturn Oregon's new Domestic Partnership law," urged Frazzini. "Please don't shut our family out from the ability to care for those we love."

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    We Don't Need to Fight This Battle Again

    Friday, May 18, 2007

    Today in the Daily Astorian there is a fantastic editorial blasting the individuals and groups who are leading a referendum effort on the two gay rights bills signed by Gov. Kulongoski last week. While we wouldn't normally put an entire editorial up here, it's worth it.

    We don't need to fight this battle again
    Newcomers to this state have always had some trouble with Oregon's libertarian you-leave-me-alone, I'll-leave-you-alone conservatism. This is especially true of newcomers of the authoritarian fundamentalist Christian variety who confuse it with "liberalism."

    In the early 1990s, newcomer Lon Mabon became alarmed at Oregonians' toleration for homosexuals and formed The Oregon Citizens Alliance. The OCA put several initiatives on the ballot prohibiting state and local governments and public schools from "promoting" homosexuality by saying anything about not discriminating against homosexuals.

    The OCA's Measure 9 was defeated in 1992, but the Christian Right became increasingly shrill, and eventually put Measure 36 on the ballot - a state constitutional amendment declaring marriage must be between a man and a woman. It passed.

    During the campaign on Measure 36, some of its most vocal supporters declared they were only protecting the "sanctity of marriage" and did not oppose laws that would give same sex couples the domestic legal protections that heterosexual couples had.

    With that distinction in mind, the Legislature passed and Gov. Ted Kulongoski signed Senate Bill 2 banning discrimination against homosexuals in housing, workplaces and places of public accommodation like restaurants or theaters. The Legislature also passed House Bill 2007, creating domestic partnerships that grant committed same-sex couples similar legal benefits in taxation, insurance, hospitalization, etc. that heterosexual couples have.

    Then Jack Brown of Grants Pass, the chairman of the Constitution Party of Oregon, announced he is circulating a petition to refer both bills to the voters. Brown says the bills "violate the spirit" of Measure 36. They do not, of course. The bills simply violate Brown's personal prejudices.

    The Constitution Party, headed by former Republican Howard Phillips, openly advocates theocratic, Christian government for the United States, so Brown is likely to have national money to hire signature gathers and buy their way onto the ballot as many interest groups have done in recent years.

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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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    The O's David Reinhard Supports Oregon's Domestic Partnership Law

    Sunday, May 06, 2007

    In a very surprising editorial this morning, the uber conservative David Reinhard writes a rather supportive piece on Oregon's Domestic Partnership bill that passed last week-to be signed by the Governor this week. His statements are below and some of our thoughts below that.

    David Reinhard's Editorial:

    Oregon's war over gay marriage ended this week, not with a bang but a whimper. The Senate passed not a bill establishing homosexual marriage or civil unions but one establishing domestic partnerships -- a legal contract giving gay and lesbian couples some of the benefits of marriage.

    [...}

    The domestic partnership bill the Senate passed last week and Gov. Ted Kulongoski will sign into law soon is the whimper -- and, really, "a big whup" for traditionalists. At least, it should be.

    But social conservatives should look closely at what actually passed. It isn't marriage. That will remain between a man and woman in Oregon. The Democratic Legislature and Kulongoski only handed up a super-contract between two adults of the same gender.

    Their domestic partnership act isn't marriage by another name, and even the bill's supporters know it. One Eugene gay man said, "It is kind of separate but not equal," and Sen. Vicki Walker, D-Eugene, had this to say last Wednesday on the Senate floor: "It's shameful that in the name of equality, we must set up a system of inequality."

    [...]

    It's hard to see this as much of a triumph for gay-rights forces -- or much of a threat to traditional marriage. Social conservatives should be honest with themselves, and be fair to gays and lesbians.

    One, gay and lesbian couples do have justifiable, practical concerns. The domestic partnership bill may not have been the best way to address them, but it's good that these real concerns will be attended to. Having the law recognize that homosexual couples exist and face practical problems hardly gives homosexuality some societal stamp of approval or places same-sex arrangements on par with traditional marriage.

    Two, far greater threats to marriage exist than the kind of domestic partnership arrangement we're talking about here. And homosexuality or gay rights -- or even same-sex marriage -- have little to do with these threats.

    Truth to the tell, heterosexuals and heterosexuality are the real menace to marriage. Out-of-wedlock births and family nonformation, too-easy marriage and too-easy divorce, a me-centric approach to marriage on the part of adults and a silly, sex-obsessed popular culture -- no, heteros have been doing a bang-up job of undermining marriage all on their own.

    If social conservatives want to do something to bolster marriage, their time would be better spent working on these matters than fretting over Oregon's new domestic partnerships law.


    While for the most part I completely agree with him for once, I can't help but wonder what the intent is. There is no doubt that I think he believes what he is saying, though it comes on the heels of "The Oregon Family Council" saying that they have "no plans" to do a referendum on the Domestic Partnership bill (House Bill 2007).

    Am I just being paranoid in thinking that this all just plays a part in a bigger strategy of attempting to calm the Oregon Family Council's base? I mean they did get their folks in a frenzy around this legislation and now they have decided to not go for a referendum which is contrary to what they said they would probably end up doing if House Bill 2007 passed.

    And not to beat a dead horse, but them doing a referendum, or even testifying against the bill is contrary to their prior public statements--like the following statements from the Oregon Family Council and the so-called "Defense of Marriage Coalition":

    "Same-sex couples should seek marriage-like rights through another avenue, such as civil unions." Tim Nashif, Oregon Family Council Director and an organizer of the Measure 36 campaign, Bend Bulletin 8/20/2004

    or

    "If same-sex couples need legal protection, they should consult their legislative representatives. If they need legislation to do that, no one is going to stand in their way." Defense of Marriage Coalition Executive Director Mike White, Lincoln City News Guard 11/10/2004

    Thoughts?

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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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    Oregon Senate to Vote on Domestic Partnerships (HB 2007) Tomorrow

    Tuesday, May 01, 2007

    Tomorrow, the Oregon Senate plans to debate and vote on House Bill 2007, the Oregon Family Fairness Act. Already passed in the Oregon House and by a Senate Committee, HB 2007 would grants rights, responsponsibilities and protections currently only available via a marriage contract within the State of Oregon but with some limitations... about 1,143 of them.

    Some of the limits of this legislation include:

  • No Portability: Unlike marriage, the protections afforded to a same-sex couple through a civil union are only available within the borders the state of Oregon. In other words, a same-sex couple traveling to another state or country will have none of the protections granted by civil unions.
  • No Federal Benefits: Unlike married couples, same-sex couples in a civil union gain no benefits under federal law, like filing of joint federal income taxes or entitlement to social security survivor benefits.
  • Residency Requirement: Unlike marriage, there is an Oregon state residency requirement to enter into a civil union.
  • Solemnization Unnecessary: Unlike marriage, a civil union is simply a civil contract, and does not require solemnization by a judicial officer, county clerk or member of the clergy.
  • Different Dissolution: Unlike dissolution of marriage (divorce), only Oregon courts can dissolve a civil union – regardless of where a couple seeking to “divorce” may live.

    The other 1,138 rights, responsibilities and protections that come with marriage at the federal level are not available via Oregon's new Domestic Partnerships.

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  • Oregon Set to Make 'Gay' History

    Sunday, April 29, 2007

    In what will be the last vote on Oregon domestic parnterships benefits (House Bill 2007), this week should prove to be a pivotal moment in Oregon's hisotry. As a pioneer state, from the Beach Bill to the Bottle Bill, we're set to again make history. Upon the passage of the most comprehensive domestic partnership bill in the nation's history, Oregon will become the first state in the nation to pass any sort of relationship rights bill after passing a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

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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.

    -G.S.

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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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    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.

    -Gavin

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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.

    -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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    Senate Bill 2 and House Bill 2007 Get House Hearing

    This morning the Oregon House Elections, Ethics and Rules Committee began to hear invited testimony on Oregon's House Bill 2007 and Senate Bill 2. Testimony was quite controlled, although it should get pretty nasty (from the opposition). They pull out all the Focus on the Family and right-wing hate group rhetoric.

    It seems that the only arguement that they can actually try and put some muscle behind is the religious exemption in the bill. For more on that read this previous post.

    Anyway, I plan on being at the public testimony tonight at 5:30pm--plans are for it to end at 9:30pm. Things are looking good though.

    -GS

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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.

    -GS

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    Gay. Parents. In Portland? OMG.

    Of course...

    The Seattle Times recently did an expose on gay parents. The below story happens to be from here in good ol' Portland.

    At 24, Hank Cattell has a black belt in tae kwan do and is studying public health at Portland State University. He grew up in West Seattle before moving at age 12 to Portland, where his mother, Mary Schutten, and her partner, Cathryn Cushing, merged families, an arrangement Cattell calls "alternative-lifestyle Brady Bunch."

    THE STRESS had nothing to do with having two moms. It was living with two other children my age. I had been an only child. Maybe I was a little spoiled. We fought a lot over the usual stupid things: television, food, whatever. We went to family counseling, which was really helpful.

    At school, people would say, "They're your sisters?" I would be like, "Yeah, well, they're my mom's lesbian lover's children." I enjoyed the shock value. Once they figure out I am serious, they're curious as to how I was born, if I'm a test-tube baby or something.

    My mom was married to my dad. They got divorced (when I was 2), and my mom is a lesbian. Mom had a few different relationships with various women who I still really like. It's like I have lots of aunts. If there wasn't a stigma attached to it, it never would have been an issue for me at all.

    I had a very normal childhood. My mom raised me (to believe) some people are gay, some are straight, it doesn't really matter. It took awhile to realize there are people who don't like homosexuals.

    Middle school was extremely unpleasant. My mom decided to send me to a private Lutheran school. In seventh grade, one of my teachers would talk about homosexuality and how it's a sin. I was Methodist at the time; my mom and I would go to church every Sunday. I really believed, then. I couldn't imagine my mom going to hell. That really hurt me. It seemed utterly ridiculous that God would create someone in such a way and then punish them for being just who they are.

    I started arguing with the teacher and the other students. I didn't actually tell them my mom was gay. The other kids would ask me if I was gay. I'd say I know people who are gay and they're really good people. I told my mom, and she took me out immediately. I went to Meany Middle School, which was very comfortable, very cool.

    My dad is not very involved. I'd see him once or twice a year. I haven't seen him since I graduated from high school, but we talk on the phone. A lack of connection more than any kind of dislike. My mom had five brothers, so I have lots of uncles, and I had a "Big Brother" who I saw every week for years. It is good to have role models, but I don't think that has to mean a biological father or stepfather. I do notice a difference between myself and other guys. For one thing, I've always been more comfortable around women than other guys are. For a long time, I didn't have many guy friends. Whenever guys would joke about wanting to have sex with a woman or make crude remarks, that always made me uncomfortable. I think guys bond a lot with that kind of stuff. I never really liked sports. That doesn't have anything to do with my mom. My mom loves sports. Now, it's not difficult to have male friends because there's a much wider array of interests.

    I was really excited when gay marriage temporarily became legal here. My mom and Cathryn were married by a judge in the courthouse downtown. For me, marriage is society acknowledging your union, and I think that's beautiful even if you're not religious. I don't understand people that have such animosity toward homosexuals. If they knew my mom and Cathryn, they could easily change their mind. If your parents are gay, it's a blessing because you'll have more freedom to explore your own sexuality. I never felt nervous about telling my mom who I was attracted to. She always said whoever you choose to be with, I'll support that - just as long as they're good enough for you!

    I remember as a kid, being attracted to both boys and girls. For the most part, I wanted to be nothing but straight, just because it's easier. I accepted I was bisexual when I was 16. It was actually my first long-term relationship with a girl, and she never had any problem with it; she's bisexual, too. Since then, I've had some terrible experiences when I've told friends because they think I'm gay and I don't know it.

    My mom is always ready and willing with lots of advice and support, though sometimes talking about issues of sex with my mom makes me uncomfortable. Not because she's weird about it - just because she's my mom!


    Read the entire piece over @ The Seattle Times.

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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.

    AND.

    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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    Pro-GLBT BIlls in Oregon Are "A-Movin"

    Monday, March 19, 2007

    Since introduced in Oregon on February 26th, Senate Bill 2, The Oregon Equality Act--a bill that would outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation is moving quickly. It had its Senate hearing just 15 days later on March 13th, passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee after 6 hours of public testimony, and now is looking to find its place on the Oregon Senate floor any day now.

    In the other chamber, House Bill 2007 (Civil unions) are moving at a different pace. After talking to a few staffers in Salem this week it sounds as if HB 2007, the Oregon Family Fairness Act (civil unions) will get its first hearing in early April, the house will vote out SB 2 and then send Hb 2007 on to the Oregon House for a vote, then it's on the Governor Kulongoski for two big fat signatures.

    Loves it.

    -G.S.

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    Senate Bill 2 Passes Oregon Senate Judiciary Committee.

    Tuesday, March 13, 2007

    Tonight, the Oregon senate Judiciary Committee passed Senate Bill 2, the bill that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. The bill passed on a 3-1 vote, with Sen. Beyer absent from the vote. Senate Bill 2 would ban legalized discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Oregon--a bill that is over 3 decades in the making... or is it three decades overdue?

    In any case, it is on its way to the Senate floor. Fmr. Oregon Senator Starr opened the day by letting the committee know that "Gays have an average lifespan of 40 years" and that "Gays on average will have 4 STD's". Good to know right? This in comparison was better to last sessions comment on the "amount of fecal matter one consumes in their lifetime". No yeah, this guy believes what he is saying.

    From BRO:

    Today, after 6 hours of public and invited testimony--the Senate Judiciary Committee passed Senate Bill 2, The Oregon Equality Act, by a 3-1 vote. The Oregon Equality Act is a bill that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Oregon and ensure basic fairness to all of Oregon's citizens.

    "Today's vote is a significant step toward ensuring that in Oregon the inherent values of fairness and equality reign over prejudice and fear,” said Basic Rights Oregon Interim Executive Director Aisling Coghlan. "In passing Senate Bill 2 the Senate Judiciary Committee has sent a clear message that discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and their families is wrong and has absolutely no place in the State of Oregon."

    Basic Rights Oregon applauds the commitment, courage and determination of Committee Chair, Senator Ginny Burdick, Senator Vicki Walker, and Senator Floyd Prozanski who sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee and voted in favor of basic fairness for all Oregonians.

    Senate Bill 2 will now move to the Senate Floor for a full vote.


    So here we go again. Most of us will remember Senate Bill 1000 last session here in Oregon. SB 1000 would have not only banned discrimination based on sexual orientation, as well as created civil unions for same-sex couples.

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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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    Civil Union Style Legislation and Anti-Discrimination Bill Introduced In Oregon Today

    Monday, February 26, 2007

    Basic Rights Oregon officially announced that today the Oregon Legislature introduced two pieces of legislation. One would be a civil union/domestic partnership bill. The other would be a statewide anti-discrimination law that would outlaw discrimination in employment, housing, public acommodations etc.

    From BRO:

    Two pieces of vital legislation were introduced today, together aimed at ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Oregon. These bills, HB 2007 and SB 2, implement the recommendations of the Governor's Task Force on Equality – a diverse committee of business, clergy and civil rights advocates from across Oregon. The Task Force invested seven months in assessing current Oregon law, analyzing applicable legal precedent, and listening to public testimony at open meetings across the state. Based on this process, the Task Force recommended action on both anti-discrimination and relationship recognition legislation this legislative session.


    So it sounds as if the anti-discrimination will originate in the Oregon Senate and the "relationship recognition" will start off in the Oregon House.

    Continued:
    House Bill 2007, the Oregon Family Fairness Act, would:
    Create a new Oregon law to legally recognize the committed relationships of same-sex couples and their families. While this legal recognition is not the same as marriage, it would confer on same-sex couples certain legal protections, rights and responsibilities similar to those generally afforded to opposite couples through marriage.


    [...]

    Senate Bill 2, The Oregon Equality Act, would:
    Amend Oregon's existing non-discrimination laws to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, employment, public accommodation, education and public services statewide.

    Currently, there is nothing in state statute making it illegal to evict a good tenant, deny a patron service at a restaurant or refuse to hire a qualified candidate just because of a person's real or perceived sexual orientation. While non-discrimination ordinances have been successfully implemented in a handful of Oregon cities and counties, this has resulted in an inconsistent patchwork of laws across Oregon.


    So there you have it. It is offical. Senate Bill 2 and House Bill 2007.

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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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    Civil Unions Coming to Oregon in 2007

    Saturday, November 18, 2006

    Oregon House Democrats have been quoted a lot lately about the issue of granting civil unions to same-sex couples. On election night this year, Speaker-elect Jeff Merkley stated "This is an opportunity for us to present a wonderful agenda on healthcare, on prescription drugs, a full school year for children, biofuels, and a real conversation about civil rights and civil unions". Most recently in today's Oregonian, Dave Hunt, our new House Majority leader laid out a couple of the issues that will be their top priority in the 2007 legislative session. Brad Cain's article titled, "Civil unions, other issues, back on Ore. lawmakers' agenda", says it all. For a refresh on the 2005 bill that would have allowed for civil unions and an omnibus statewide anti-discrimination policy click here for prior extensive coverage by this blog.

    Here it is:
    But various interest groups, from gay rights organizations to environmental activists, worked to help the Democrats regain the majority in the House in the Nov. 7 election. They're ready for their issues to be high on the Legislature's agenda as well.
    Chief among them will be a renewed push for civil unions legislation.

    With strong backing from Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski, a civil unions measure to open up to same-sex couples hundreds of benefits available only to married couples won approval in the Democrat-run Senate in 2005.

    But House Speaker Karen Minnis and other GOP leaders refused to bring the bill to a House vote, arguing that would thwart the will of Oregon voters who approved a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in the November 2004 election.

    With help from Basic Rights Oregon and other gay rights groups, Democratic challenger Rob Brading came close to knocking off Minnis in her own re-election campaign in the Nov. 7 election. But civil union backers succeeded in their next-best goal of helping Democrats win the majority in the House.

    "We set out to help re-elect Gov. Kulongoski, to keep Karen Minnis from returning to the House speaker's office, and to create a pro-equality majority in the House - and we succeeded in all three things," said Basic Rights spokeswoman Rebekah Orr.

    This past week, House Majority Leader-elect Dave Hunt said civil unions legislation will be brought to a vote in the House this time because he thinks most Oregonians support the idea.

    "We are not talking about bringing up divisive issues," the Milwaukie Democrat said. "We're trying to follow positions that we think are very much supported by a majority of Oregonians on education, health care, public safety and civil rights."

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    An Homage to Karen Minnis

    Thursday, November 09, 2006



    Her rule is over. Today, in the Oregonian the headline reads: "Minnis says she won't pursue role of leader". The funny part of that is her caucus wouldn't even vote to put her in a leadership position, so don't think it is her choice. The Minnis monarchy has fallen. The queen is dead.

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