<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d8945590\x26blogName\x3dBasic+Rights+Oregon+-+gay+rights,+civ...\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLUE\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://basicrights.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://basicrights.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d-4985118528740769765', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

A smoke screen in the Oregon House

‘Reciprocal benefits’ are a poor substitute for civil unions’ fairness

Anti-gay rights groups and conservative activists are ratcheting up the pressure on Sen. Ben Westlund, R-Tumalo, and a colleague who have proposed allowing civil unions for same-sex couples and outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Critical postcards flooded Central Oregon mailboxes this week courtesy of the Oregon Family Council, which was instrumental in the successful Measure 36 campaign that outlawed gay marriage.

Bend-based religious radio station KNLR-FM also is encouraging people to call Westlund and voice their opposition to Senate Bill 1000, which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and establishes procedures for civil unions.

The phone at Westlund's Capitol office has been ringing since.
Meanwhile, the executive board of the Deschutes County Republican Central Committee will call Westlund to the carpet on Friday to explain his support of a measure that board members unanimously oppose.
"We're very disappointed in him," said Richard Morehead, the local party chairman.

Westlund is one of four sponsors of the bill. The others are Sen. Frank Morse, R-Albany; Sen. Alan Bates, D-Ashland; and Senate Majority Leader Kate Brown, D-Portland.
"The mailing I think was a little over the top, but I'm happy to get the calls," Westlund said. "It's part of the job."

However, Westlund said he's disappointed about a flip-flop by leading supporters of Measure 36.
"In the campaign by the proponents of Measure 36, it was very clear that civil unions were OK," he said. "But now that 36 has passed, all of a sudden they're not."

He said he's looking forward to the meeting with Deschutes County Republicans, and said he'll tell them his position has remained constant: He supported banning gay marriage last fall, but has also maintained that same-sex couples need an equal alternative.

Prior to the passage of Measure 36, supporters of the measure assured the public that the goal was preventing gay marriage, and that same-sex couples should seek those benefits via a different avenue such as civil unions.

The rhetoric is different today.
The Web site of the Bend radio station says civil unions are gay marriage in disguise: "Just as skunk and polecat denote the same animal, civil unions and gay marriage are the same."

The station manager did not return calls Tuesday.
Postcards also have been sent to the district of Morse, who characterizes them as a bit of a hit piece.
"They haven't changed my perspective," Morse said of the postcards and phone calls. "I respect other people's beliefs, but I happen to believe differently, and I think a majority of Oregonians do too."

The anti-gay rhetoric of several calls helped cement his belief that the anti-discrimination bill is necessary, he said.

Bates and Brown had not heard of any postcards in their districts as of Tuesday. The responses are not all critical, however. Both Morse and Westland said Tuesday that the mailings are generating some calls in support of the legislation.

A Senate committee held hearings on the bill last week, but has not scheduled a vote.

Tim Nashif, director of the Oregon Family Council, said the postcards are being sent to people who would likely oppose civil unions. They will be mailed statewide, he said.

"Our interest is to kill this bill," he said. "We don't like it and think it is bad public policy, and you can't kill it just talking to only Westlund and Morse."

His organization has thrown its support behind competing legislation that would create "reciprocal benefits" that would allow any two adults in a household to secure certain rights, such as the ability to visit each other in the hospital.

Unlike civil unions, that alternative would not grant any legal recognition for same-sex couples.

Nashif said Westlund and Morse have attracted more scrutiny because most Republicans oppose gay marriage.

"Sixty-some percent of Westlund's district is Republican, and Republicans supported Measure 36 by a whopping 80 percent in his district," he said. "We're convinced the people of his district did not send him to Salem to focus all his time and energy on this issue."
« Home | Previous | Next »
| Previous | Next »
| Previous | Next »
| Previous | Next »
| Previous | Next »
| Previous | Next »
| Previous | Next »
| Previous | Next »
| Previous | Next »
| Previous | Next »

» Post a Comment