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Governor Creates Task Force on Equality

Thursday, February 09, 2006
Governor Ted Kulongoski today signed an Executive Order to create a statewide taskforce to examine discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Oregon.

"After the defeat of Senate Bill 1000 last session, we became even more determined to work at every level -- before the next legislative session begins -- to continue the fight to end legal discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Oregon," said Basic Rights Oregon Executive Director Roey Thorpe. "We urged Governor Kulongoski to explore every strategy possible to ensure all Oregonians are treated equally and we are proud to partner with him in this effort."

The task force is charged with recommending changes to Oregon's laws to ensure that all Oregonians are adequately protected from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and other opportunities, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

"We know that when reasonable people look at the facts about discrimination against GLBT people and the positive impact of anti-discrimination legislation in other states they will agree that protecting all Oregonians is the right thing to do," said Thorpe. " We won't give up until equality is the law of the land. The formation of this task force is just the latest step in our campaign to make sure that next year the legislature finally sends a message that discrimination has no place in this state."

The task force of between 8-12 members, which will be chaired by Portland businessperson Paul Kelly, will make a recommendation on the proposal to ensure that all of state government affords the same rights and privileges to all Oregonians to the greatest extent permitted under federal law and the Oregon Constitution.

It will also ensure that Oregon law provides an appropriate legal pathway for grievance, enforcement and resolution if Oregonians experience unequal treatment in either the public or private sectors. The task force will not only examine Oregon's laws, but will also analyze anti-discrimination statutes adopted by other states, as well as related bills introduced during the 2005 session of the Oregon Legislative Assembly.

As he signed the Executive Order, Governor Kulongoski said,"I'm very proud to be here today with Basic Rights Oregon as we continue to push the issue of basic fairness and equality forward. We fought together last session for anti-discrimination legislation and I am committed to continuing this fight until we achieve our goal of economic and social equality and justice for every person living in Oregon, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Today is another step forward toward that goal, but it's just the beginning and I won't quit until antidiscrimination laws are on the books in Oregon."

Recommended changes to Oregon law will be submitted to the Governor no later than December 31, 2006.

A full roster of task force membership will be released next month. To read the executive order click here.

Watch the Governor's Remarks Here:

Watch our Response Here: here.

Open Thread: Discuss BRO's Leadership Summit

Saturday, February 04, 2006
Did you attend BRO's first annual Statewide Leadership Summit Saturday in Corvallis? More than 100 activists from all over Oregon--the coast, Bend, Grants Pass, Eugene, Salem, The Dalles, Pendelton, Portland and more--converged on Corvallis for training, strategizing, dicussion and planning.

We were lucky to hear from civil rights, peace and justice activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Mandy Carter.

We were energized, inspired and motivated to take our fight for equality to the next level city by city and county by county in our state. Were you there? What did you think? Discuss your experience at the conference, the next steps and the issues here!