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NEW CIVIL UNION/ANTI-DISCRIMINATION BILL INTRODUCED IN OREGON HOUSE

With a budget deal struck and a ticking clock on the Oregon legislative session, Speaker of the House Karen Minnis may have thought she saw the end of our efforts to pass civil unions and anti-discrimination legislation this session.

But, hope remains alive and we will not give up!

Today, less than one week after Speaker of the House Karen Minnis executed a "Mid-Day Massacre" of Senate Bill 1000, House Democrats introduced a new bill aimed at creating civil unions and prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, employment, public accommodations and public services.

Sponsored by State Representative Mary Nolan (D-Portland), House Bill 3508 was also drafted, similar to civil union legislation in Vermont, to broaden appeal by including "reciprocal benefits" for those individuals not eligible for a civil union or marriage.

"We're giving the Speaker of the House one more chance to do the right thing," said Represenative Nolan. "The matter of civil unions and nondiscrimination deserves a full and open debate on the floor of the House. It's not acceptable that one person, the Speaker of the House, should stand in the way and prevent the House from doing its duty. We're not asking for the Speaker's personal vote for civil unions. But we are demanding the opportunity for the whole House to debate on a matter that the Senate has already dealt with decisively."

Despite the budget agreement that signals the end of the session, Senate Majority Leader Kate Brown also agreed that the pressure to pass civil unions and anti-discrimination legislation remains. "We are still discussing those issues," Senator Brown told the Associated Press on Monday. "Until the end of the session, all those are in play."

WHAT ARE OUR CHANCES?
Last week's Mid-Day Massacre of Senate Bill 1000 left many who have advocated for the bill wondering what options remain for passing civil unions and antidiscrimination legislation this session. The Speaker's maneuvers have removed some of our legislative options, but not all of them.

Within minutes of the House's Mid-Day Massacre of Senate Bill 1000, House Democrats, the Governor's staff and other legislative allies met to strategize about how to move forward and bring civil unions and anti-discrimination legislation to a House vote this session.

Today's introduction of HB 3508 provides one more path for achieving this goal. But there is no doubt that, while anything is possible until the gavel falls, our options for passing this legislation diminish with each passing day. Still, we will not be deterred.

TELL YOUR LAWMAKER TO BRING HB 3508 TO A VOTE BEFORE THE SESSION ENDS!
Just days after House Speaker Karen Minnis' "Mid-Day Massacre" of Senate Bill 1000, a new bill has been introduced in the Oregon House that would create civil unions and prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

HB 3508 provides another opportunity for legislators in the House to take a stand against Speaker Minnis's extreme tactics to prevent a public debate and vote on civil unions and anti-discrimination. This bill provides another opportunity for lawmakers to honor the democratic process and do the right thing before the session ends.

Click here to call now!
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