Press

Task Force applauds Oregon Senate's passage of civil union and non-discrimination bill

Date: 
July 08, 2005

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force applauds Oregon Senate's passage of civil union and non-discrimination bill

Calls the efforts of Basic Rights Oregon a 'model of perseverance and commitment to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality'

MEDIA CONTACT:
Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications
media@theTaskForce.org
646.358.1465

WASHINGTON, July 8 — The Oregon Senate passed a bill today that would provide same-sex couples "substantially equivalent" rights under state law as married couples by creating civil unions and also would outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Senate Bill 1000, which was approved by a 19 to 10 vote, now awaits action in the House. Basic Rights Oregon (BRO) has been the lead advocate for the bill, whose passage carries special significance in light of last year's approval of Measure 36, a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as solely between a man and a woman.

Statement by Matt Foreman, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

"Today's historic vote in the Oregon Senate is the result of the committed, passionate and aggressive leadership of Basic Rights Oregon and its executive director, Roey Thorpe. They are a model of perseverance and commitment to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.

"Last year, Basic Rights Oregon and others committed to equality waged an extraordinary and exhausting campaign to defeat Measure 36, which sought to amend the state constitution to deny marriage equality to gay people. While that ugly initiative passed, it did so by the smallest margin of similar measures being considered by voters in 10 states because of the campaign mounted against it.

"Instead of giving up or being discouraged, as some might have done, BRO immediately resumed working to secure rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Oregonians. BRO refused to back down or tread lightly. Today's vote is the result and shows BRO's unwavering understanding that equality is not something that happens in a flash, but is a long journey with steps both forward and back.

"We salute Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski for his strong support of this measure and the bipartisan group of senators from across the state who fought for it, including Senate Majority Leader Kate Brown (D-Portland) and Sens. Frank Morse (R-Albany) Ben Westlund (R-Tumalo) and Alan Bates (D-Ashland).

"We now join with our allies in Oregon in calling upon House Speaker Karen Minnis to drop her usual tactic of avoiding public debate and relying on parliamentary procedures to kill bills and bring this essential measure to the floor for an up or down vote right now."

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.