Press

Task Force hails Oregon Senate passage of nondiscrimination legislation covering lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people

Date: 
April 19, 2007

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

Applauds state partner Basic Rights Oregon; Task Force has invested substantial staff and financial support in Oregon, leading to today’s victory

WASHINGTON, April 19 — The Oregon Senate today passed the Oregon Equality Act by a 19–7 vote. The measure bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in areas such as employment, housing and public accommodations. The bill passed the state House on Tuesday by a 35–25 vote. Gov. Ted Kulongoski has publicly stated he will sign the legislation. When the law goes into effect, an estimated 48.5 percent of the U.S. population will be protected from employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and 34 percent — more than one-third — will be protected on the basis of gender identity and expression.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc., has been a longtime partner of Basic Rights Oregon, the statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights group. For more than a decade, the Task Force has provided ongoing strategic advice and training to Basic Rights Oregon staff and more than 100 leaders from across the state. In addition, the Task Force has provided technical assistance, staff to assist on campaigns and direct grants to support the programs of Basic Rights Oregon. During the contentious No on 36 campaign in 2004, the Task Force provided more than $900,000 in cash and 10 full-time staff to help build the large team of volunteers and activists who have continued their activism and outreach, resulting in today’s legislative victory.

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

“This is a historic milestone on the road to complete equality — an incredible day for Oregon and the entire nation. If the forces of intolerance try to overturn this law through a ballot initiative, we will be there as we have been so many times before.

“We applaud the extraordinary efforts of Basic Rights Oregon, state Sens. Brad Avakian, Ginny Burdick and Majority Leader Kate Brown — all champions of LGBT equality — and the many other allies who worked so hard to secure this amazing victory.”

Additional media resource:
Download a copy of the updated Task Force map
illustrating current state nondiscrimination laws.

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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.