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Basic Rights Oregon Lauds Passage of California Equal Marriage Legislation

(Portland) ''Basic Rights Oregon applauds the California Legislature's bold move to end the discrimination faced every day by same-sex couples and their families in California.'' said Basic Rights Oregon Executive Director Roey Thorpe following a vote by the California Legislature yesterday, making it the first state in the nation to pass legislation that would legalize marriage for same-sex couples.

The bill now moves to the desk of Governor Schwarzenegger who has until October 6, 2005, to sign or veto the bill or let the law into effect without his signature.

''When governments and elected officials across the country have turned their backs on GLBT citizens, this legislature didn't wait for a court order to act or shelve the debate for another day. Instead, it took seriously its moral duty to ensure equality and fairness for all its citizens--not tomorrow, not another year, but today.

''The triumph of fairness over fear, people over politics and equality over injustice in California would not have been possible without the determined, passionate and aggressive activism of Equality California, which sponsored and championed the bill on its path to victory,'' Thorpe continued.

California is now the first and only state in the nation where the legislature has voted to end marriage discrimination. Presently, Massachusetts is the only state to grant civil marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the result of a decision by the state's highest court. Vermont and Connecticut provide civil unions for same-sex couples, and California and New Jersey presently offer domestic partnerships.

Knowing the pain and outrage caused when one government official overides the will of the majority to preserve discrmination, Basic Rights Oregon joins other fairminded organizations across the country calling on Governor Schwarzenegger to follow a more righteous path and allow this legislation to become law.

After a historic vote in the Oregon Senate approving a civil unions and statewide antidiscrimination bill championed by Basic Rights Oregon and a bipartisan group of Oregon Senators, the Oregon Legislature failed in 2005 to end discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Oregonians and their families when the Speaker of the House alone blocked the bill from becoming the law.
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