Oregon Lawmakers On Gay Rights Trail?

Gay Oregonians have something to celebrate today. Lawmakers are currently mulling two bills that would guarantee them the basic rights afforded other citizens. One bill hopes to ban gay discrimination in the work place, while the other will extend certain rights to same-sex couples.

Of course, this isn’t some willy-nilly gay nup law: couples will have to fit certain stipulations. The Washington Blade reports:

The bill includes a requirement that couples who enter into civil unions live in Oregon for a certain amount of time, and would allow a same-sex couple to enter a civil union via a contract, instead of needing a clergy member or judge to make it official.

Hmmm, that sounds convenient. Well, except for the living in Oregon bit. Yeah, it’s pretty and all that, but we’ve never wanted to marry someone that badly.

Oregon legislators heard a similar bill back in 2005, but it stalled in the GOP controlled House. Gay rights activists are optimistic the Demmie-controlled government will help get things going.

They’d better hurry, because Washington-based Alliance for Marriage has amped up efforts to ban all gay nups by targeting state lawmakers, rather than federal leaders. Of the move, VP Bob Adams says:

We believe the day is coming when the Marriage Protection Amendment will be sent to the states. The time to organize for that is now, not 10 years down the road.

It seems like a waste of time, if you ask us – 45 states already prohibit gay marriage. Can’t these people just move to those states, rather than trying to get up in everyone else’s business?

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  • FizziekruntNT

    Awww, isn’t that sweet?

    “Hey honey, let’s get contractually obligated!”

  • Oregonian

    I think its important to note that Oregon did pass a “one man, one woman” constitutional amendment (funded by all of those haters) in 2004. So, Oregon is one of those 45 states that prohibits “gay marriage.” While a civil union/contractually obligated law isn’t very sexy… it’s a good push back. I am tired of the all or nothing argument. I guess because I am tired of having “nothing”. Having some legal backing “by contract” is a step in the right direction, and I’ll gladly take it.

  • el polacko

    i’ll buy the ‘step in the right direction’ arguement .. every little bit helps … but this, once again, illustrates why contracts or domestic partnerships or whatever are not the same as “marriage”. my co-worker here in california is married to a woman who is living and working in nevada but they are no less married because of it. if my bf and i want any kind of benefits at all we damned well better be living in the same house or forget it. that’s separate and NOT equal.
    p.s… oregon is mostly backwater shitholes with a couple of small cities that are basically over-grown college towns, filled with hippies who weren’t ‘cool’ enough for the s.f. bay area. unless that sounds appealing to you, i wouldn’t be booking any flights to get contractually obligated there anytime soon.

  • The Angry Moose

    HAHAHA I get it! the Oregon trail!!!! hahaha that’s funny!
    Fucking Hicks.

  • John

    Oregon wants to become the 8th state to grant gays some legal recognition and the 18th to protect us from employment discrimination… so lets piss on them and call them hicks? Yeah, that’ll show those redneck losers (insert sarcasm here).

    This is precisely the attitude that turns America off to gay issues. It reinforces the stereotype that we’re just a bunch of whiny wusses who bitch at every attempt at compromise and accommodation.

    Listen up, perpetually oppressed geniuses… if the Congress passes ENDA and Bush actually signs it, please do the rest of us a favor.

    Instead of saying “What? No repealing DOMA? No legalization of cottaging? No free condoms at football games?” like you usually do…please just sit there, stare into space, and don’t touch anything.

  • Paul Raposo

    Sorry John, but you’re the perfect example of why American GLBT’s aren’t nearly as advanced as others around the world. Clearly, you’re not suffering like the GLBT’s in Iraq, or Iran, but you’re decades behind Canada. Perhaps if more gays would fight and get our straight friends on board, American gays would be much better off. Sitting back and waiting for your het overseers to decide what you may, or may not have is pathetic. If you’re not willing to fight for it, perhaps you don’t deserve it.

  • John

    Ontario and BC legalized gay marriage in 2003. It hasn’t even been one decade yet. Before that, only Quebec had civil unions…while Nova Scotia and Manitoba had domestic partnerships.

    We currently have such laws in 7 states (CA, CT, HI, MA, ME, NJ, VT) and the District of Columbia. It’s not that America has fallen desparately behind, it’s that Canada advanced very quickly in the last 5 years. Unfortunately, it happened to coincide with America’s most conservative government since Richard Nixon.

    But the differences are mostly a problem with the ruling elite, lobbying efforts, and a lack of political will… not some sort of deep division in values. A majority of both the American and Canadian people support gays in the military, banning discrimination, and the end of sodomy laws. Americans are against same-sex marriage far more than Canadians though.

    And my point is we’re squandering opportunities to address these other matters because of the marriage fetish and “outrage” at minor slights like the Snickers commercial. Such fixations has distracted us from using these shifts in public opinion to make progress on DADT, ENDA, hate crimes, housing discrimination… and yes, more civil unions and domestic partnerships.

  • JH

    Portland is one the most gay friendly cities in the country. It voted above 90% on the marriage ban. I should be noted that the marriage amendment in this state did not ban civil unions like other states. In fact, I remember the fundies using an argument that gays could get civil unions instead. We also have euthanasia. Oregon is more liberal than most states.

  • JH

    90% against the ban to clarify. Also, it didn’t pass statewide by a huge margin either.

  • Paul Raposo

    John, by decades behind, I meant it will take you decades to have same-sex marriage like Canada; not that Canada had ssm for decades.

  • John

    Paul, I’m not in the business of predicting the future. Though I doubt there will be a national consensus on the issue anytime soon. The states will do what they want to do, and the gridlocked federal government will not stop them (for better or worse).

    JH, yes, I think the idea that Oregon is a “redneck state” would offend many Portlanders. I don’t think it is fair. It’s about as balanced as using attitudes in Bakersfield and Stockton to claim California is a “redneck state.”

  • Majorie

    “It’s about as balanced as using attitudes in Bakersfield and Stockton to claim California is a “redneck state.”

    Um…not exactly. Bakersfield and Stockton are anamolies in California, whereas Portland and Eugene are anamolies in Oregon.

    Oregon and even Portland for that matter are far from progressive…they’re more libertarian than anything else. One look at the gawdawful public services and education system/funding that’s at the bottom of the barrel for America would confirm that. If it wasn’t in the Pacific Northwest, Oregon wouldn’t come off that differently from, say, New Mexico.

    My god – any state where less than 30% of people have access to fluoridated water doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on in challenging a “redneck” barb!

  • John

    See, I’m not sure Bakerfield and Stockton are really anamolies. There’s an illusion that they are because the ultra-liberal S.F. Bay Area and L.A. County dominates California’s global reputation, cultural production, and political manuvering. This creates an impression that the state is far more progressive than it actually is. 44% of Californians (and over 80% of the land mass) voted for George W. Bush in 2004, after all.

    But even if we accept the premise that Oregon is libertarian rather than liberal… there are areas where gay rights and libertarianism are quite compatible.

    And does it matter that much what kind of water they drink or whether their population growth is the result of “white flight”? What does that have to do with gay rights?

    I’m glad you brought up New Mexico as well.

    Despite being a largely rural southwestern state, New Mexico’s laws are actually far more gay friendly than any of its neighbors. Perhaps, it is time for LGBT communities to get out of their Northeast + California urban shells.

    Gay rights activists have become like the Democrats in 2004, they refuse to leave “safe” geographical boundaries because of their own prejudices about what can’t be achieved. But I promise you, this project of legal progress will get nowhere if we don’t talk to those so-called “red(neck) states” that are not necessarily with us all the time.

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