Press

Task Force hails Oregon Senate passage of domestic partnership legislation covering same-sex couples

Date: 
May 02, 2007

Applauds state partner Basic Rights Oregon; Task Force has invested substantial staff and financial support in Oregon

MEDIA CONTACT:

Roberta Sklar, Communications Director
(Office) 646.358.1465
(Cell) 917.704.6358
rsklar@theTaskForce.org

“Today’s victory is especially sweet since Oregon has been the frontline of unrelenting attacks by forces viciously opposed to equality for gay people for nearly 20 years.”
— Matt Foreman, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

WASHINGTON, May 2 — In a 21–9 vote, the Oregon Senate today passed the Oregon Family Fairness Act, which would establish domestic partnerships for same-sex couples and provide them with the state rights, benefits and responsibilities granted to married couples. Gov. Ted Kulongoski supports the bill, which passed the House on April 17 by a 34–26 vote.

With the new domestic partnership law, Oregon will become the seventh state to offer broad protections under state law to same-sex couples. Massachusetts allows same-sex couples to marry. Vermont, Connecticut and New Jersey have civil union laws, and the New Hampshire Legislature approved a civil union bill on April 26 that Gov. Chet Culver has vowed to sign. California’s domestic partnership law offers same-sex couples almost all the rights and responsibilities afforded married couples. (Maine, Washington state and the District of Columbia have more limited domestic partnership laws.)

Since 1988, Oregon has voted on five statewide anti-gay ballot measures, more than any other state. Three have been defeated. In 1988, voters approved a measure overturning an executive order prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in public employment (57 percent to 43 percent) and in 2004 voters amended the state constitution to prohibit the recognition of same-sex marriage (57 percent to 43 percent).

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 trainings, technical assistance, staff to assist on campaigns and direct grants to support the programs of Basic Rights Oregon.

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

“Today’s victory is especially sweet since Oregon has been the frontline of unrelenting attacks by forces viciously opposed to equality for gay people for nearly 20 years. With this family recognition law and the new nondiscrimination law passed last month, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Oregonians will have — at long last — laid the foundation for full equality.

“This would not have happened without the tremendous work of Basic Rights Oregon as well as Aisling Coghlan, its current interim executive director, and Roey Thorpe, its former executive director, whose inspired vision and leadership made this historic victory a reality.”

Statement by Aisling Coghlan, Interim Executive Director
Basic Rights Oregon

“This is an incredible victory for all Oregonians. Today, Oregon LGBT couples and their families will now have the security of over 500 rights, responsibilities and protections that are currently only available to straight couples via a marriage contract.

“This victory could not have been achieved without the long-term support of our friends at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. For many years, they have shared their expertise and provided staff support and much-needed financing. We express our deepest gratitude to the Task Force for its part in this historic success.”

Additional media resource:
Download a copy of the Task Force map illustrating relationship recognition laws covering same-sex couples in the United States.

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The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc. (“NGLTF, Inc.”), founded in 1974, works to build the grassroots political power of the LGBT community to win complete equality. We do this through direct and grassroots lobbying to defeat anti-LGBT ballot initiatives and legislation and pass pro-LGBT legislation and other measures. We also analyze and report on the positions of candidates for public office on issues of importance to the LGBT community. NGLTF, Inc., is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation incorporated in New York. Contributions to NGLTF, Inc., are not tax-deductible.