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Vote Smart. Vote Out. Vote Equality.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Basic Rights Oregon announced the launch of its 2006 Vote Equality campaign, with the release of its first-ever online voter guide and the announcement of thirty-two endorsements in 2006 Oregon electoral races.

"Never has there been more at stake for the future of equality in Oregon than in this election year," said Basic Rights Oregon Executive Director Roey Thorpe. "Through the power of our votes, those who care about fairness and equality under the law are poised to create lasting change in Oregon."

The Vote Equality campaign is a project of the Basic Rights Equality PAC, which seeks to elect candidates to office who support equality under the law for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Oregonians.

The goal of the campaign is to elect a pro-GLBT majority to the Oregon Legislature, in order to pass--after decades of trying--a historic civil rights bill in 2007.

Basic Rights Oregon worked with elected officials in 2006 to pass Senate Bill 1000, which would have created civil unions for same-sex couples and banned discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, employment, public accomodations, education and public services. That bill passed the Senate, but was blocked from receiving a debate or vote by House leadership.

To learn more about Vote Equality and to view the Basic Rights Equality PAC endorsements, visit www.VoteEquality.com

An Update: Politics 2006

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Tina Kotek Gets BRO's Equality PAC Endorsement

The Basic Rights Oregon Equality PAC is proud to announce its endorsement of Tina Kotek for House District 44.

Tina's candidacy presents Oregon with a historic opportunity to join those states that have passed pro-GLBT legislation in large part because of the work of out legislators. If elected, Tina would become the only out elected official in the Oregon House.

Currently Policy Director at Children First for Oregon, Tina is a long-time advocate for fairness, equality and opportunity for all children and families in Oregon. In addition, Tina has been on the front-lines of the struggle for GLBT equality in Oregon a tradition of activism that began when, as president of the Graduate and Professional Student Senate at the University of Washington, Tina was successful in gaining domestic partner benefits for gay and lesbian students.

Want to help support Tina? Make a contribution to the Basic Rights Equality PAC. Click here to contribute now! (be sure to select the Basic Rights Equality PAC as the recipient of your gift)

Want to learn more about Tina? Visit www.votetina.com

No Endorsements Made Yet in Governor's Race:
Still no decision on whether to endorse or who to endorse in the Governor's race.

Karen Minnis and Her Fundraising
In other election news... Karen Minnis has raised some serious money from some sources that might make a person raise their eyebrows. BlueOregon.com reported on the findings in Speaker Minnis' C&E's. Click here to read the story.

Help us combat Minnis' fundraising. Donate now to the Basic Rights Oregon Equality PAC. Click here and make sure to select the Equality PAC when donating.

Basic Rights Oregon Sues Oregon, the first of many.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Basic Rights Oregon Unveils New Legal Strategy to Achieve Equality for Oregon Same-Sex Couples
BRO filed the first in a series of planned lawsuits Wednesday in Multnomah County

(Portland) At a press conference in Portland Wednesday morning, Basic Rights Oregon announced its newest strategy to advance equality in Oregon courts as it filed the first in a planned series of lawsuits designed to address the discrimination faced by Oregon same-sex couples because of the State of Oregon's failure to comply with the 1998 Oregon Court of Appeals decision in the case of Tanner v. OHSU.

Plaintiffs in the first case, Jeana Frazzini, 33, and partner of nine years K.D. Parman, 31, along with their son Emmett Rocco, 2, are suing the State of Oregon after it blocked Jeana from being listed as Emmett's parent on the child's birth certificate.

"Just as other parents, we carefully planned and conceived of Emmett and our hopes and dreams for a family as a couple," said Frazzini. "For the state to deny Emmett a second legal parent is a cruel dismissal of our family and a marked departure from the automatic status other Oregon parents take for granted."

The case of Parman v. Oregon is based upon two Oregon laws that give parental rights to married couples and their children. In Oregon, a child born during a marriage is automatically the legal child of both the husband and the wife at birth. This is true even when it is clear that the husband is not biological father. Similarly, a husband and wife who use artificial insemination to achieve a pregnancy are automatically the legal parents of the child. In these cases, the husband only rarely is the biological father. The protections of these laws are denied to gay and lesbian Oregonians and their children solely because of the parents' inability to marry.

The primary legal arguments behind this case and other planned litigation are based on the 1998 Tanner decision, which said that the State of Oregon is constitutionally prohibited from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation as it relates to state benefits, services, privileges and immunities. While it is commonplace for state governments to adjust existing policy and administrative rules to comply with new case law, Oregon did not take this step related to the Tanner decision. As a result, gay and lesbian Oregonians continue to face discrimination in areas including retirement benefits, parental rights and family protections, workers compensation and more.

"The State of Oregon has a responsibility at all levels to treat each of its citizens in accordance with the Oregon Constitution," said Basic Rights Oregon Executive Director Roey Thorpe. "To do anything less sends a message that some Oregonians are more deserving of equality under the law than others."

"Unfortunately," Thorpe continued, "The more than seven-year failure of the state to voluntarily comply with the Court of Appeals decision in Tanner has left us with no other option than to go back to court."

More information about this case will follow later this morning.