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Governor Introduces Civil Union/Non-Discrimination Bill Today

Oregon Governor to Introduce Combonation Civil Union / Non-Discrimination bill at request of Basic Rights Oregon.

regon Governor Ted Kulongoski announced today that he will introduce a bill this week in the Oregon Senate, at the request of Basic Rights Oregon, that would provide legal protections and recognition of committed, same-sex relationships through a civil union and outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation in the State of Oregon. The bill represents the culmination of months of successful lobbying by Basic Rights Oregon and our supporters on the Oregon Basic Fairness Act (HB 2519) introduced in the Oregon House earlier in the session and civil unions. Both pieces of legislation are now combined in the new bill.

"All Oregonians should take pride today in Governor Kulongoski's tremendous public and personal commitment to ending discrimination," said Basic Rights Oregon Executive Director Roey Thorpe. "The Governor's clear and decisive leadership on this legislation is not only remarkable in the State of Oregon, but unmatched by any other governor in the country."

Co-sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Kate Brown (D-Portland) and Senators Frank Morse (R-Albany), Ben Westlund (R-Tumalo) and Alan Bates (D-Ashland), Senate Bill 1000 would:

Amend Oregon law to create civil unions, defined as a civil contract entered into by two members of the same sex who are at least 17 years of age and are not first cousins or nearer of kin, and are not parties to a marriage or another civil union. While a civil union is not a marriage, it would confer on same-sex couples the legal protections, rights and responsibilities generally afforded to opposite sex couples through marriage; and

Amend Oregon's existing non-discrimination laws to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, employment, public accommodation, education and public services statewide.

"For too many years, efforts to advance basic fairness for gay and lesbian Oregonians and their families have been stalled, ignored or cast aside," said Thorpe. "Today, with bipartisan leadership from across Oregon, our state is charting a new course toward an Oregon that keeps its promises of fairness and equality to all of its citizens."
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