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Oregon Equality Act is on the House floor

April 11, 2007

In the current legislative session here in Oregon there are many important things going on, including the movement of the Oregon Equality Act and the Family Fairness Act through the labyrinthine legislative tract. Here’s the news for these two items today:

Two bills that would extend gay rights Oregon have been sent to the floor of the House for a vote following approval in committee. One bill would allow same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples unable to marry to form legally recognized partnerships. The second would include gays in Oregon’s nondiscrimination law.

The bills passed the House Elections, Ethics and Rules Committee following amendments that addressed concerns by critics.

The Family Fairness Act carefully avoids using the term civil unions to quell criticism from socially conservative groups that the wording was too close to gay marriage – something already banned by a constitutional amendment in the state.

The Oregon Equality Act would amend the state’s non-discrimination laws to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, employment, public accommodation, education and public services statewide.

It contains a provision that exempts churches but not private businesses they might run, such as hospitals. It was amended to cover all faith-based organizations, even if they are not aligned to a specific church.

The Family Fairness Act (SB 2) uses creative language to get around the controversy of gay marriage and civil unions by referring to the rights as “domestic partnerships”. Recently I would have argued for the language of equality – call it marriage! – but for right now I have to say that getting the rights in place seems so much more important than what Oregonians are comfortable with calling it. These “marriage-style benefits” will help families a great deal, and that’s what is needed.

Head over to Basic Rights Oregon to keep updated and to find out ways to get involved!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 19, 2007 2:15 pm

    Voters in OR voted against this last year. Liberals in power decided to say “screw the voters”.

    This has nothing to do with “rights”, and everything to do with empowering a special interest group and removing the rights of businesses to make a choice who they hire and who they keep.

  2. May 8, 2007 11:52 am

    Thank goodness the fairer and wiser heads of the Democratic House and Senate prevailed over a small group of individuals who have thrown wrenches in the works toward equality in Oregon over the previous three years!

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