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Gay Rights Advancing in Salem Today

Basic Rights Oregon organized a Legislative Day of Action today bring nearly 1000 people to rally and then lobby our Oregon State legislators. The rally was a huge success with numerous supportive legislators making speeches to the crowd on the steps of Oregon's Capitol Building. Also speaking was Sam Adams, Portland's first openly gay city council member.

Basic Rights Oregon is helping to push - named The Oregon Basic Fairness Act (HB2519). The Oregon Basic Fairness Act would be a statewide non-discrimination bill that would prohibit discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodation, public services and education on the basis of sexual orientation in Oregon. Sexual orientation is defined as: an individual’s actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality or gender identity, appearance, expression or behavior even if it differs from the individual’s sex at birth.

This bill, if passed, will amend Oregon’s hate crime laws to add the definition of sexual orientation listed above, which is inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Also on the legislative agenda will be the issue of civil unions for same-sex couples.

BRO is introducing a comprehensive relationship recognition bill that will extend to same-sex couples all of the benefits, protections and responsibilities typically afforded to opposite-sex couples through the status of marriage. Basic Rights Oregon, in a lawsuit filed against the state last year, has asked the Oregon Supreme Court to order the legislature to create a civil union status. We are currently waiting for a decision in that case. For that reason, this bill has not yet been introduced in the legislature (and therefore has no bill number). It will, however, be introduced following the court decision or at a time when it has been determined to be strategically appropriate.

More details on the success of Basic Rights Oregons "Day of Action" to follow.
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