Anti Gay Rights Petitions: One Down, One to Go

Opponents of two equal rights bills passed this session by the Oregon State Legislature recently delivered petitions to force referenda on the bills to the Oregon Secretary of State. Today, the Secretary of State announced that at least one of the petitions did not gather enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. The petition, which would force a referendum on legalizing domestic partnerships for same-sex couples, fell just 116 signatures short of the required 55,179.

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.

In a press release, Basic Rights Oregon celebrated the news as a victory for gay rights:

"This is a proud day for Oregon," Basic Rights Oregon executive director John Hummel said in response to the news. "In refusing to sign these petitions, Oregonians showed that they aren't interested in rolling back our anti-discrimination laws."

Oregon's domestic partnership law was signed by Governor Kulongoski in May after it passed the legislature with wide support. The law creates legal recognition for same-sex couples through domestic partnerships, giving committed couples certain legal rights and responsibilities, like hospital visitation rights, and the ability to make medical decisions for one another in a crisis.

Hummel said the failure of anti-gay groups to meet a very low signature threshold is clear evidence that the groups are out of step with Oregon values.

"Oregonians know that discrimination is wrong," he said. "They believe it's wrong for a good employee to be fired just because they are gay - and it's past time for Oregon's law books to say so. And they know that committed couples should have the legal means to take care of each other, especially in a crisis."

No word yet on Referendum #304, which would put another recently passed law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation on next year's ballot.

Discuss.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    Unfortunately we are already hearing that these bigots are going to be gearing up for a repeal measure(s) in the next election.

  • liberalincarnate (unverified)
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    This is indeed celebratory moment. Out of both of these prospective measures, I suspected that they would have the easiest time on this one. To see that it has failed in wonderful.

    However, Evil and Hate know no bounds and this fight will continue again and again. We will meet them in an electorial battleground in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 and onward. I say we stop playing defensive and start taking the offensive. Let's sue their asses off, catch them for tax evasion and in bathroom stalls across the state!

  • (Show?)

    They can gear up for a repeal all they want. They are starting at a disadvantage that they have never faced before and I am grateful for that. Obviously no amount of complacency is safe here, but right now I feel good.:)

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: liberalincarnate | Oct 8, 2007 4:37:30 PM I say we stop playing defensive and start taking the offensive.

    I have been saying that about BRO's well meaning but strategically flawed game-plan of always playing defense in the ballot initiate process. We could have easily gotten a Constitutional amendment on the ballot saying that the state will not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and make the bigots play defense and raise the money to try and argue that "yes we have to discriminate against gays because..." which is a fundamental shift in the framing of the debate.

    When you are always on defense the other side will eventually score one (Measure 36).

    That said, I am glad BRO has has been fighting this one (as they have in the past) and the bigots seemed to have failed this time, but they are going to be back in the 08 cycle, you can bank on it.

  • Brian (unverified)
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    Just 116 signatures shy of a ballot measure? Man, that's gotta sting. I was kinda hoping this anti-domestic partnerships thing would be up for public vote this fall. Pretty sure it would be shot down handily. That would make for a solid mandate and would be an accurate gauge of citizen sentiment regarding civil unions.

    BTW, casting about words like "hate", "evil" and "bigot" so liberally hurts your cause. There are plenty of decent folks who don't happen to agree with your position on GLBT issues. If going to war with them is your tactic, be prepared to lose and be set back a couple of decades.

  • Lewis (unverified)
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    GGGGGGGAAAAAHHHHH.....How exciting!
    i just broke the news on my site too.

  • (Show?)

    Brian, I said the people pushing this referendum are bigots. I never said hate or evil.

    Plenty of descent people also supported anti-miscegenation laws which codified bigotry into the law of the land. Most people by and large have moved past the bigotry of anti-miscegenation laws, just as more and more Oregonians are rejecting the anti-bigotry that a small and dwindling set of bigots are pushing. Most people are not hate filled, evil, or bigots which is why as people come out and loudly condemn bigotry and bigoted discriminatory laws, fair minded people who actually are decent people come to understand that bigotry and discrimination is wrong.

    And as for "my position" it is simply that of the 14th Amendment and it's equal protection clause. So are you saying that decent folks should not agree that the equal protection clause should not apply to everyone including same-gender couples?

  • (Show?)

    Ugh

    Plenty of descent people also supported...

    Should read:

    Plenty of decent people also supported...
  • Brian (unverified)
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    Think we all knew what you meant, lestatdelc. No need to go all typo Nazi on yourself.

    More to your point, most folks don't equate race or interracial relationships with same-sex couplings. It's not the same thing and never will be. That being said, a good deal of reasonable Americans understand that what two consenting adults choose to do is none of their business and should not be an issue. However, keep in mind that these relationships will always represent a small minority in the grand scheme of things, unlike race, ethnicity, etc. IMHO, homosexuals should be treated equally, but not the same. That is, a small minority is not allowed to redefine the rules of marriage for the majority. Sorry, it just doesn't work that way.

  • James X. (unverified)
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    I'd say SB2 and HB2007 was playing offense. BRO deserves credit here.

  • (Show?)

    "IMHO, homosexuals should be treated equally, but not the same. That is, a small minority is not allowed to redefine the rules of marriage for the majority. Sorry, it just doesn't work that way."

    Isn't that pretty much the way it HAS worked, throughout history? A small minority--usually church elders--has redefined the rules of marrriage to suit them?

  • (Show?)

    Isn't that pretty much the way it HAS worked, throughout history? A small minority--usually church elders--has redefined the rules of marrriage to suit them?

    Touche:)

  • Anon (unverified)
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    I want to make public the names of those who signed.

    Can we set up a web site called www.oregonhaters.com or www.oregonbigots.com and put up a copy of the petition?

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Brian | Oct 8, 2007 7:06:59 PM More to your point, most folks don't equate race or interracial relationships with same-sex couplings.

    How do you arrive at "most folks"...?

    Corretta Scott King to name one person whose views on such issues I would listen to seems to think otherwise. That said, you are missing my point entirely. We already have VASTLY more support for full equality for same-gender couples in the cultural zeitgeist than there was prior to the SCOTUS overruling anti-miscegenation laws in 1967 with Loving v Virginia.

  • (Show?)

    Brian, one other thing, beyond disproving your assertion that somehow a minority do not get to "redefine" marriage for the majority despite the fact that 9 out of 10 Americans opposed mixed-race marriages when those laws were overturned... when you state:

    That is, a small minority is not allowed to redefine the rules of marriage for the majority.

    It really does beg the question how exactly has your (presumably "straight") marriage been redefined, or affected in any way at allbecause some other couple who have the same genitalia are married?

    Which is pretty much the question Wanda Sykes so briliantly nailed in this thing of beauty.

  • (Show?)

    Ahhh crap.

    I screwed up the tags with the lack of a closing italics tag in the post at 8:58... mea culpa.

  • (Show?)

    People seem to forget over and over again one of the founding principles of this country.

    It's not majority rules, as some seem to think. It is majority rules with minority rights.

    The majority should never be able to decide the rights of a minority. It is unconstitutional and goes against everything this country was founded on.

    And yes, there are plenty of people who look at bi-racial marriage the same as they do same-sex marriage. I should know - my husband and I are from different races. After 3 years of bigotry from people on our relationship, I was glad to move into Oregon.

    And allowing same-sex marriages doesn't do anything to change marriage for the minority. It will still mean two consenting adults who enter a legal (and possibly religious) commitment with each other. The difference is that the majority no longer gets to discriminate against a population of people and keep them from enjoying the same rights.

    Two men or two women getting married does nothing to change or affect my marriage. But it does give them all access to all the rights my husband and I have had for more than 10 years now.

  • Calling bigots out (unverified)
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    lestatdalc wrote: "Unfortunately we are already hearing that these bigots are going to be gearing up for a repeal measure(s) in the next election."

    Of course they will. Gay-bashing is a major cash-crop for bigots. Hate sells just as well as sex. Problem is, the haters have talked themselves into a corner on sex. So they need a different product. So they hate on people as long as they can get away with it: fags, niggers, bitches, ragheads, wetbacks, kikes, you name it. If one of the groups gets too powerful, then pick on the next group down the line.

    There's good money in hate, if you play it right. It's still pretty much okay to publicly hate on the fags, so long as you target things right, and EUREKA! There's direct mail to send and donation plates to pass! Reverend Daddy needs a new BMW!!

    Brian wrote: "There are plenty of decent folks who don't happen to agree with your position on GLBT issues."

    Bullshit. You think it's "decent" to deny other people the same rights you take for granted? Interesting definition of "decent" you've got there. I suppose Jim Crow laws were just "cultural oddities"? And that little thing going in Iraq just a "difference of opinion" ...

    No, Brian, these people you refer to are not "decent". It is obscene to believe that one couple's love is better than another's, particularly when we remember all the abused and neglected children out there, being produced by many of the "decent" people you cite.

    Love is love. The evil here is in the hearts of those haters who believe that one love is higher, better, or more "normal" than another. And if you disagree with me, I suggest you try reading the Bible - all of it, not just the snippets that reinforce your personal bias - with your heart and mind engaged.

    Jesus was a hard-core liberal socialist. Or maybe you haven't read the Sermon on the Mount lately (if ever), or considered the deeper meaning of parables such as that of the loaves and fishes?

    Own your hate. And get over it.

  • (Show?)

    I want to make public the names of those who signed.

    Good news! That website is already in progress. Know Thy Neighbor Oregon will be posting the names.

    By posting the names and addresses of the 55,179+ signers, KnowThyNeighborOregon.com is supporting the democratic process by providing the public with direct access to information that they are entitled to see and that is very relevant to this somewhat controversial topic.... Petitions will be turned in on or before September 26, 2007. Once these petitions become public information, all names and addresses of petition signers will be available in this online searchable database.
  • Anon (unverified)
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    Kari - Excellent news!

    Of course I'm sure some are proud to be publicly branded bigots. Others, however, not so much. Too bad - they're screwing with people's lives. They ought to be ready to be held accountable.

  • (Show?)

    Of course I'm sure some are proud to be publicly branded bigots. Others, however, not so much. Too bad - they're screwing with people's lives. They ought to be ready to be held accountable.

    (I completely agree, but am I the only person who finds it ironic that that post was made anonymously?)

    I hope the database will be searchable by zip code as well as other identifiers.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    Kari, Stephanie V and Anon, I didn't sign the petition, but what if I HAD? What right do you have to assume that I am a bigot, hate-filled homophobe? Where do you get off branding me in your stereotypical attitudes and hate speech?

    What if? WHAT IF I had signed because I wanted my sister and her partner to have the solid backing of a vote of all the people of Oregon solidifying their rights as conferred by the legislature? WHAT IF I wanted our neighbors who are a same sex couple to know that their neighbors recognized them as great people with the same rights in our community, regardless their sexual orientation?

    My, now wouldn't that be a progressive thought?

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)
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    Kurt:

    Your vote is absolutely private. But your support of an issue or candidate is not. If you donate money or sign a petition, you have made a public act.

    In the rather contrived case you propose, I'd say you should be prepared to explain your thinking to your friends and neighbors. Maybe they'll believe you. It depends on how persuasive you are.

    You are right that it requires a leap of logic to say that anyone who signed the petition is a bigot. But it's not a very big leap.

  • Fred- Raleigh Hills (unverified)
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    Hi folks,

    As one of the Portland 3000, the folks who got married in March 04 only to see bigotry and discrimination approved, I am elated. I know where I and my partner of 10 years will be on January 2nd, at the Washington County Clerks office! We moved here about 5 years ago from Kentucky to get away from the bigotry of the south. Even though we lived in the very blue Louisville highlands we felt looked down upon just for being ourselves. Living here on Oregon is much easier for gay folks like us, than we had in Louisville. My partner had to have surgery a couple of years ago and I was able to be in the room with him, of course we had to pay over $5000 to get legal papers to accomplish this. What about the folks who don't have the means to get these types of legal documents? If he had had his surgery in Louisville, I would not have been able to even be in the room. You see it's much more than just the ability to register as domestic partners, although we prefer marriage. It's about basic human rights that all people should have. Please support knowthyneighbororegon.com, people need to be able to see who signed this hateful petition and to explain why they did it. Thanks for making us feel so welcome in Oregon.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    mea culpa

    No problemo. Looks like your buddy's got your back. (Remember, [preview] is your buddy too.]

  • (Show?)

    What if? WHAT IF I had signed because I wanted my sister and her partner to have the solid backing of a vote of all the people of Oregon solidifying their rights as conferred by the legislature?

    I think all three of the people who signed the petition for that reason should be proud to explain themselves to their friends and neighbors.

    They should not be surprised, however, to find that many people don't appreciate having their rights repeatedly placed in jeopardy at the ballot box with all the emotional trauma, trouble and expense such ballot measure campaigns entail.

    Perhaps after a few conversations with those friends and neighbors they will be a little less naive and a little less likely to add their signatures to 55,000 expressions of bigotry.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: East Bank Thom | Oct 9, 2007 7:12:23 AM (Remember, [preview] is your buddy too.]

    Yes, but in this case, preview did not help flag the missing close tag since the italics tag was on the last words of the post.

  • Holly Martins (unverified)
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    Lars Larson’s on his radio show right now bellyaching about how Bradbury maliciously threw out this petition (typical right-wing nut job hysteria) and Marylyn Shannon’s on with him threatening legal action along with another initiative to get those sinful homosexuals to just shut up and go away.

    If it weren’t so pathetic, it would be funny. God, do we really need to drag these people out of the 16th century?

  • Randy2 (unverified)
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    Fred:

    "My partner had to have surgery a couple of years ago and I was able to be in the room with him, of course we had to pay over $5000 to get legal papers to accomplish this."

    ***In the operating room or the recovery room?

    ***$5000.00? An Oregon Advance Directive (which includes Health Care Power of Attorney) costs $1.95 from Stevens-Ness. As far as I know, all Oregon hospitals recognize it.

    Randy2

  • Lars is an A**** (unverified)
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    Lars L. and Marilyn S. were speaking to an audience that is less than half of what it used to be.

    Lars is fast becoming big nobody except to the worst of the conservative bigots. He changes no minds in the public debate. His ratings have steadily decreased for quite a while.

  • Laura Calvo (unverified)
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    ***$5000.00? An Oregon Advance Directive (which includes Health Care Power of Attorney) costs $1.95 from Stevens-Ness. As far as I know, all Oregon hospitals recognize it.

    The real point of this is that they had to have any legal papers in the first place.

    Secondly, would you actually base your most important life decisions on a "fill-in-the-blank-form" that costs $1.95?

    Or would you more realistically, at least consult an attorney?

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    Fred, welcome to Oregon. My family and I are also originally from the Highlands in Louisville. We miss parts of that vibrant city, but litle of the closed and irrational mindsets. I hope that your partner is doing well now.

  • Fred-Raleigh Hills (unverified)
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    We had to get a full estate plan, not just healthcare, and yes we did look at the $1.95 one, it was not sufficient to protect us from family members. The papers are 3 inches thick. Thanks Kurt he is doing well, we lived right down the street from Bellarmine College. We now have our papers on file at our hospitals, we even go to a gay doctor. So we feel very well protected, we still have our Marriage License displayed under glass at out house, even if it is null and void.

  • Fred-Raleigh Hills (unverified)
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    This something to remember for the fight in 2008. The bigots only lost this round because of ONE double signature in Polk County which cost them 400 signatures. Had this not happened it would be on the ballot. I would prepare for 2008, as we have to assume they will get enough signatures by July.

  • Holly Martins (unverified)
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    <h2>If they do manage to place on the ballot in '08 an inititive to overturn domestic partnerships, someone needs to ask them if their proposal will invalidate all of the partnerships that will be registered between then and now. It seems so obviously unfair and unreasonable to snatch away domestic partnerships after they've been granted, but I'd put nothing past this gang.</h2>
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