Domestic Partnerships head to Governor's desk!

The Oregon Senate joined the Oregon House in sending a domestic partnerships law to the Governor for his signature. Read the final version of HB 2007 here.

From the Register-Guard:

The Senate's 21-9 approval of a domestic partnerships bill marked a milestone in the decades-long campaign by gay Oregonians and their supporters for protection from discrimination and rights in civil life on the same footing as those of heterosexuals.

Oregon is poised to join a growing list of states that have extended civil union or domestic partnership rights to same-sex couples. Six states offer such benefits, and Massachusetts has legalized gay marriage. New Hampshire's just-passed civil unions legislation awaits its governor's signature.

All of the Senate Democrats voted yes, joined by independent Sen. Avel Gordley and Republican Senators David Nelson (R-Pendleton) and Frank Morse (R-Albany). From the Basic Rights Oregon blog, the list of Republicans voting no:

Jason Atkinson-R, Roger Beyer-R, Ted Ferrioli-R, Gary George-R, Larry George-R, Jeff Kruse-R, Bruce Starr-R, Doug Whitsett-R, Jackie Winters-R

The Oregonian has a very helpful Q&A. A few highlights:

Q: How does a domestic partnership differ from a civil union?

A: There's no legal difference. Some states have chosen to call the same-sex contract a civil union; others, a domestic partnership. ... Proponents opted for West Coast consistency (Washington and California have domestic partnership laws). They also decided that the term "domestic partnership," which is older, would be more familiar to Oregonians and more likely to win political support. ...

Q: How do couples register for a domestic partnership?

A: They go to the county clerk, fill out a form, sign it, have it notarized and pay the $25 fee. ...

Q: Are employers required to offer domestic partners the same benefits as they do the spouse of a married employee?

A: That is the intent of the new law, though some details remain uncertain and may have to await legal interpretation. Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt, a Portland law firm specializing in business law, posted a report on its Web site advising Oregon employers: "If your group health insurance plan is one that covers spouses, the safest and best practice is to add domestic partners to your plan."

It's a great day for Oregon - that's been 30+ years in the making.


  • Phil Jones (unverified)

    Hooray! My hot sister and I can't wait to start making babies!

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    I'm looking forward to some invitations to commitment ceremonies..........


    And Phil, I don't want to denigrate what may be a longstanding family tradition, but your often stated fascination with your sibling seems a bit risky gene-poolwise........

  • Phil's sister (unverified)

    Please excuse Phil's many inane comments on this subject. Momma dropped him on his head when he was just a youngster so he still acts that way.

  • Scott in Damascus (unverified)

    Lesbians are self-absorbed narcissists. I want you to put that down -- self-absorbed narcissists who are willing to destroy any institution so long as they can have affirmation of their lifestyle. You go back to the various laws that took away the difficulty of getting a divorce, and the people leading the charge were homosexuals, way back in the '70s. So we have no-fault divorce. Who are leading the charge for abortions? So often, you'll find people who are lesbians leading the fight for the destruction of human life. Now they want to destroy marriage. -- Pat Robertson on the 700 Club

    By the way, the first no-fault divorce law in the nation was signed in California in 1969 by then Gov. Ronald Reagan.

  • Jaey (unverified)

    Um, didn't we vote against gay marriage like 2 years ago? So if the citizens say no to gay marriage, why does the legislature think it's OK to have Gay Marriage* (gay marriage under a different name)? I guess they just don't respect the voters.

    Bottom line is homosexuality is wrong and is a blight on society. Why legislate and encourage it and all its diseases?

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    Jaey, it's OK because the homophobes told us it was OK--they made it clear that M36 had nothing to do with civil unions, so their hate bill could pass. Now they're over a barrel, because while Oregonians don't want gays to actually marry, they want them to have the same rights as everyone else. Eventually of course same sex marriage will become the law of the land in Oregon, and we'll all shake our heads at how dumb we were. But for now, this is the next best option.

    And if you think that gays have special diseases, congratulations! You've just validated the claim that being gay is a biological rather than behavioral construct, since of course diseases affecting just gays would have to be based on something biological that makes them gay....right?

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    The answer, Jaey, is that the purveyors of Measure 36 specifically said it wasn't intended to stop civil unions. They did so repeatedly, even after it was passed.

    Now a question for you. What skin is it off your nose that gays have protections in the laws, like married hetro couples do? Exactly how do you get hurt? Please explain.

  • ws (unverified)

    This is a bad day for trolls, but a good day for Oregonians. A good day for freedom of religion and a good day for Oreonians whose right to a domestic partnership...marriage, in the common parlance, was in need of literal definition and support by way of law. My hope is that this law helps to make life better for everybody.

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    By voting for Measure 36, Oregon's voters stated they did not want committed same-sex relationships to be called "marriage". They did not say committed same-sex couples should be denied equal rights.

    Even the Oregon Family Council - primary backer of Measure 36 - agrees with this: On 8/20/2004 in the Bend Bulletin, Tim Nashif, Oregon Family Council Director and a main organizer of the Measure 36 campaign stated: "Same-sex couples should seek marriage-like rights through another avenue, such as civil unions."

    The Defense of Marriage Coalition agrees with this view too: On 11/10/04, Defense of Marriage Coalition spokesperson Mike White said in the Lincoln City News Guard: "If same-sex couples need legal protection, they should consult their legislative representatives. If they need legislation to do that, no one is going to stand in their way."

    So, the Democratic Party of Oregon did exactly as the Oregon Family Council and Defense of Marriage Coalition said they should. As a result, the Oregon Legislature, by an overwhelming bi-partisan margin (21 to 9) passed "marriage-like rights" for committed same-sex couples.

    So, the main question now is: were the DOMC and OCF lying to everyone? Will they now flip-flop and "stand in [our] way", because we've achieved "marriage-like rights through another avenue"?

    Just how moral are these organizations and the people behind them? They talk the talk - publicly judging everyone else's behavior - but do they walk the walk with their own?

  • Scott in Damascus (unverified)

    Jaey: Can you answer me two questions: 1. Just exactly how is homosexuality "wrong." None of this gut-feel soft-peddle crap. I need specific examples of how it is wrong.

    1. How is it a "blight" on society? Again please give specific examples.

    Thank you in advance.

  • Jaey (unverified)

    1) Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. The Torah, The Bible, The Koran. Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and commone sense all disallow homosexuality.

    2) What people do in the privacy of their own homes is their business. But to bring such an awkard lifestyle into public is wrong for our children. Parents don't want their first grade teachers to talk about their same-sex spouse in class because the kids will think it's normal and OK. Children with low self-esteem and psychological disorders may be led down this awful path.

    The rates of promiscuity, drug use, and STDs are much higher for gay men than straight men. Is that what you want for our kids?

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    Jaey -- Every time you post your silliness, someone is going to make a donation to Basic Rights Oregon. Is that you want?

  • Misha (unverified)


    As for your insightful and discerning observation, "Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve"...

    I suggest you check out the huge number of religious denominations that give full recognition to same-sex relationships:

    Judaism (Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist); United Church of Christ; Episcopalian;

    *(Continued in next post)***

  • Misha (unverified)


    Unitarian Universalist; Metropolitan Community Churches; Religious Society of Friends (Quakers); Zen Buddhism; and many, many individual clergy members and religious communities associated with mainline Christian churches.

    You obviously see this as a religious issue. Fine. Why should the government take sides on this religious question in favor of your view, as opposed to the views of all of these religious groups?

  • Scott in Damascus (unverified)


    Thanks Jaey - I couldn't agree more!! When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind him or her that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to follow them:

    (a) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

    (b) I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

    (c) I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev. 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offence.

    (d) Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

    (e) I have a neighbor who insists on working on Sunday (the Sabbath). In the book of Exodus verse 35:2 it clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

    (f) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't know. Can you settle this?

    (g) Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

    (h) Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev.19:27. How should they die?

    (i) I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

    (j) My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev.24:10-16). Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14).

    I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging, and we should do what the bible says.

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    And the fact is that our government is not run by religion. Religion is separate from our government. Using the Bible or other religious documents is completely beside the point. We're not talking about what your church/religion has to accept or allow. We're talking about our government.

    You can personally disagree with same sex relationships and homosexuality. But the fact is this is a country based on equal rights for all. It's a country where it's not just majority rules, but majority rules WITH minority rights. For too long, this country has denied rights from others -- African Americans, American Indians, women, Irish, Asians, homosexuals, and the like. This has to stop.

    These domestic partnerships are a step in the right direction, but it's still not "marriage" -- not even close. The rights only cover you in Oregon. You don't get any of the federal rights or benefits -- it's only those granted by the state of Oregon.

    People never voted against giving rights to same sex couples. They voted to "protect" the word "marriage." That's why I am a big advocate of completely removing the word "marriage" from the law all together, replacing it with another term, and putting "marriage" where it belongs in this country -- in the church. Our problem is we've combined ceremonies. Other cultures have two ceremonies -- a religious marriage and a civil ceremony. Ours are together as one, which is the problem.

    By the way, before you start throwing slurs my way, I'm a happily married woman (will be celebrating our 10th anniversary this year) who was raised (and still worships) as a Southern Baptist.

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    Still half a loaf, but progress in the right direction. When will the Gov. sign it?

  • Ashley (unverified)
    <h2>Hooray for rights for you and me! Of course the Governor will sign it, he's told us he has his pen ready!</h2>
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