Kulongoski signs equal rights legislation.

From the Oregonian:

Noting that it capped more than 30 years of work, Gov. Ted Kulongoski signed legislation into law Wednesday morning that will recognize same-sex unions as domestic partnerships and ban discrimination against gays and lesbians. ...

Nine other states and the District of Columbia have legally recognized same-sex unions by granting them at least some of the rights of marriage. In Oregon, a same sex couple will register in their county to enter a domestic partnership contract that will give them all of the state benefits of marriage. It also gives them the responsibilities - including the possibility of having to pay child and partner support in the event of a dissolution.

It is illegal under current law to refuse to hire or otherwise discriminate against a person because of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age and mental or physical disability. During his first term in the Oregon House in 1975, Kulongoski introduced legislation that would have added sexual orientation to that list, but the proposal failed.

Read the rest. Discuss.

  • Garrett (unverified)

    Personally...I don't care what they called it...civil unions, domestic partnerships...it's about freaking time!

  • liberalincarnate (unverified)

    This is a great example of why elections matter. I only wish that I could have seen Karen Minnis's face. That would have been almost as divine as the passage of these bills.

  • Oregon Bill (unverified)

    ** What do we do if we're already married? Most couples don't get married again, state by state... (usually you divorce before the next marriage)

    We're married in Canada, a marriage recognized sea to shining sea north of the 49th parallel - and in many parts of Europe, South Africa, perhaps even Massachusetts...

    In many ways, this is one big mess. Joint state tax returns, but individual federal returns? Marriage in one jurisdiction, domestic partnership in another, civil union in a third? Brand new commitment/marriage ceremonies, new signed documents, new costs, every time you cross a border? We're not getting married again!

    It's always a headache (check American history) when unfounded religious prejudice is the basis for granting separate, unequal civil protections for our less "moral" or human citizens (because Jesus told you so...)

  • Seth (unverified)

    This all comes down to one issue that we have all but forgotten, Separation of Church and State. How is this even an issue? The Church cannot claim our laws and livelihood. Thanks Ted.

  • (Show?)

    Wow, that was a really moving video. I would like to have been there to share in that historic moment. I am also pleased Ted finally got to sign legislation like this--he seemed to relish the opportunity.

    Incidentally, there appears to be a Constitution Party move to put a measure on the ballot to repeal this law--and remove civil liberties from Oregonians. (The irony that the Constitution Party is the sponsor is ... thick.) From the O:

    The Oregon Family Council proved it has the clout to organize a referendum with its successful campaign to put Measure 36 on the ballot. But the council says it will not refer the laws. Jack Brown of Grants Pass, chairman of the Constitution Party of Oregon, says he and other members will. They are forming an independent committee to organize a referral effort and file with the Oregon Secretary of State by Monday, he said.

    I actually think it would be welcome for them to try. Despite what the article says, I believe there is far more support for these rights than there is opposition. It might be good for the bigots (harsh word, but accurate) to expose their real agenda. They're betting Oregon is as narrow-minded as they are; it would be good to have clarification on the matter once and for all.

  • (Show?)

    Restore America('s Bigotry) is planning on a referral apparently as well...

  • Ibid. (unverified)

    We lost interest when we heard we weren't getting civil unions; no one seemed to care that language was important to our relationships.

    We gave up marriage, we gave up separate-but-equal Civil Unions, we gave up Civil Unions Lite, then we gave up having our relationships called Unions to be called partnerships.

    And yet, Kulongoski says in this video that this is "...ending legal discrimination once and for all."

    Looks like we gave up our discrimination too for we're being told that this ends legal discrimination when in fact it ends only part of the discrimination we have against us as your fellow Oregonians.

  • (Show?)

    Ibid wrote: "And yet, Kulongoski says in this video that this is '...ending legal discrimination once and for all.'"

    Kulongoski ended that sentence with "in Oregon". And, while it's true this is a case of holding a glass half-full, or half-empty - legal discrimination remains rampant in most States and at the Federal level - I am personally happy to view our glass as (more than) half-full right now, in Oregon. Oregon law has far more day-to-day impact on our lives here than any other.

    Those who've read the Oregon Family Fairness Act know that it gives domestic partners virtually identical rights and responsibilities as those granted by marriage; not a "lite" version of those rights. In light of Article XV Sec. 5a of the Oregon Constitution (fka, B.M. 36), the Governor and our Legislators did literally everything they reasonably could, and then some - all at political risk yet to be fully determined - to make equal legal rights and responsibilities available to our relationships.

    Speaking as a gay man, sure, it's easy to feel bitter, given the dismal state of GLBT equality nationally and internationally. The fight is far from over. At the same time, I strongly believe we need to celebrate our victories when we have them, and appreciate our many allies.

    Yesterday was a major victory for fairness and equality in Oregon, and we have many, many people outside the GLBT Community to thank for it.

  • dddave (unverified)

    So now that we have a protected class, the K thru 6th grade indoctrination can begin. Little Johnny can now be told that homosexuality is OK, mainstream, normal, as legislated by the State of Oregon, so it must be true.

    Too bad we are PREVENTED from even mentioning: 1) that one man/one woman is actually proven to work better over the last few thousand years 2) that people should even GET or BE married 3) that it matters what your parents say on this issue 4) that it matters what your religion says on this issue

    I am sure the BlueBloggers will keep a sharp eye on this as it crops up in our schools.....

  • (Show?)

    dddave wrote "Little Johnny can now be told that homosexuality is OK, mainstream, normal, as legislated by the State of Oregon, so it must be true."

    You're right, but because it is true, not because of any legislation.

    If homosexuality were anything but normal and natural, it would have disappeared through evolutionary natural selection long ago. We're created through heterosexual copulation, just like everyone else. But it hasn't. It is present in some fashion in virtually every species on the planet, including humanity. And it has been present in human culture throughout recorded history (it was a widely accepted and expected social norm in Greek and Roman culture).

    I recommend the book Biological Exuberance by Bruce Bagemihl, Ph.D., to those interested in the science behind my assertion.

    Of course, those who deny science, reason, and the mind God gave to each of us don't care about such facts. It's easier to blame homosexuals for the dismal state of American marriage than take responsibility for it. Divorce rates are highest in conservative states, and amongst conservative Christians.

    "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbour’s eye." (Matt. 7:5)

  • (Show?)

    Dave, this isn't a thread about curriculum. But yeah, I'm a lot more proud of my state now than I was when values like yours were dictating law. And I'd be happy to let young, unbigoted Oregonians know that civilized people don't remove rights because they disagree with others.

  • Byard Pidgeon (unverified)

    Oh, there must be great wailing and gnashing of teeth in Virginia Beach, as Pat Robertson calls upon his almighty gawd to smite Oregon with hurricanes, floods, fires, pestilence and all that stuff. A redwhiteandblue patriot friend, here in Klamath Falls, straight as they come, tells me that "who anyone wants to marry is none of government's business...I should be able to marry my dog if I want"...well, he does have a cute dog!

  • (Show?)

    A good step forward, but far from ending legal discrimination for non-heterosexuals even her in Oregon since this does nothing on the Federal level. But still a very good step forward for equality and I applaud the Democrats and the few Republicans in the State Leg. and the Governor for finally being in a position to do the right thing by passing these bills and making it the law here in Oregon.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Leo Schuman | May 10, 2007 1:01:20 PM Of course, those who deny science, reason, and the mind God gave to each of us don't care about such facts. It's easier to blame homosexuals for the dismal state of American marriage than take responsibility for it. Divorce rates are highest in conservative states, and amongst conservative Christians.

    Well, as Steven Colbert brilliantly said...

    "I don't trust facts, because facts change. I trust my gut, because even if facts change, I never change my gut-based views becuase of facts. Why? Because that's where the truth lies, right down here in the gut. Do you know you have more nerve endings in your gut than you have in your head? You can look it up. I know some of you are going to say "I did look it up, and that's not factually true." That's 'cause you belive in facts.

    Next time, look it up in your gut. I did. My gut tells me that's how our nervous system works no matter what the facts say about it."

    That may not be exactly what Colbert said, but I know in my gut that's what he said.

    (wry grin)

  • Ibid. (unverified)

    Leo Schuman wrote: "Kulongoski ended that sentence with "in Oregon"."

    You're right, he did. So here Kulongoski's quote with that addition: Kulongoski says in this video that this is "...ending legal discrimination once and for all in Oregon."

    My statement still stands. This was not an end to discrimination in Oregon by any means. We aren't equal, and as long as we are treated differently it is dangerous to suggest otherwise.

  • (Show?)

    Ibid wrote: "This was not an end to discrimination in Oregon by any means.

    Of course not. Just look at the continuing racism in America, forty-three years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Legislative change is only part of the process.

    "We aren't equal, and as long as we are treated differently it is dangerous to suggest otherwise."

    As dangerous as failing to publicly acknowledge, respect, and appreciate the political will and courage it has taken our many straight allies to help us get this far? Our struggle for equality cannot be won without them. Just look at the numbers. So, each battle carries us only as far as we are all able to move. We just took a huge step, with their considerable help.

    The truly dangerous stance would be to fail at any point to acknowledge, respect, and appreciate our allies for all they've done, while we continue working together towards the day GLBT people reach full national and international equality. Yes, we're far from done. Yet, there's still a lot of thanks to be given, right here and now, while we gear up to defend the ground we just gained, and take the next step forward. Together.

  • LiberalIncarnate (unverified)

    Kulongoski should have said, "... this is a major step forward for Oregon."

    To ddave and his ilk that enjoy dehumanizing people because they themselves hide their own sexual desires, I would not want you near any of my children, nor anyone else's. I do not want your views being taught to anyone as being valid. Period. I would strongly suggest that such individuals move to Saudi Arabia where their views are more strongly held and where people are beheaded frequently because of religious and dictiorial doctrine.

  • Ibid. (unverified)

    Liberallncarnate, that states it perfectly; I'm not sure how the Governor got it wrong but this isn't an end to discrimination - it's a step forward and Oregon's laws still discriminate against gay Oregonians.

    That's all I wanted to bring out, Leo. I'm not sure what the rest of what you're saying is about, but this wasn't an end to laws that separate and treat us differently.

    It was a major step forward though.

  • (Show?)

    Ibid wrote: "Oregon's laws still discriminate against gay Oregonians."

    It all depends on how one chooses to define the term "discriminate". You're right, in that "separate is inherently unequal", and our rights and responsibilities in domestic partnership are defined in a separate section of the ORS from marriage. So yes, there is still technical discrimination. You're wrong, though, to the extent that you imply married couples in Oregon have something under Oregon law that we won't. OFFA Section 9 is explicit that "any" right or responsibility granted in marriage is granted on equivalent substantive and procedural terms - legal jargon meaning every single bit of it, from all angles - to domestic partners, rendering the actual impact of that continuing technical discrimination in the ORS less than minimal, in practical terms.

    My core concern is that people will not read OFFA Section 9, and take time to understand just how broad and comprehensive the Governor and Legislature have tried to be - to the furthest extent of Oregon's jurisdiction - in providing full legal equality for our relationships under Oregon law, short of using the constitutionally protected term "marriage", which remains a special right reserved for heterosexuals. I'm even more concerned that the radical right will try to exploit feelings around the continuing technical discrimination in the ORS (yes, though identical, our rights are on a different page of the book, and go by a different name) as a wedge, to divide us from our allies during the approaching battle to hold all the ground we just gained.

  • Ibid. (unverified)

    Well Leo, there's a discussion - what the definition of 'equal' really is; honestly I don't think I'm up for that one. I called Gordon Smith's office on the FMA and was told once that I had the same rights 'technically' - that I could marry any person of the opposite sex I wanted just like any other man. (So, Gordon Smith wants me to marry your daughters, Oregon.)

    I mean, you can argue that blacks technically had the same rights to transportation on buses, just a different way.

    As long as we are not treated equally (we'll find out that businesses can deny us spousal benefits because we aren't technically married) then we're not equal.

    Let me say that again: If we're treated differently, we're not equal.

    <h2>Equality can't be parsed.</h2>
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