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Hillsboro Unanimously Votes To Ban Discrimination

Earlier this year we told you that we would go city-by-city and county-by-county to pass anti-discrimination legislation until either the whole state is protected or the Oregon Legislature finally does its job and passes a statewide anti-discrimination law.

Now, after months of hard work by the grassroots activists of the Washington County Basic Rights Action Team, we have made another giant step forward in that fight.

The City of Hillsboro Tuesday evening nanimously approved a city-wide ban on discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodation on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity after hearing public testimony from faith leaders, business owners and the GLBT community in support of the legislation. The preliminary vote followed months of work by the Washington County Basic Rights Action Team to lobby the Hillsboro city council and build community support for the new law. Final approval is expected in the next two weeks.

In enacting this law, the City of Hillsboro has joined two Oregon counties and eight cities that have enacted similar laws: Multnomah County, Benton County, Salem, Portland, Beaverton, Bend, Ashland, Lake Oswego, Eugene and Lincoln City.

In a statement released to media after the vote, Basic Rights Oregon Interim Executive Director Frank Dixon said, ''With this vote Hillsboro has affirmed that our communities are strengthened when each of our citizens are treated fairly under the law no matter where they work, live or travel."

Basic Rights Oregon is particularly grateful for the tremendous leadership of Mayor Tom Hughes and City Councilor Ed Dennis whose commitment to equality made this vote possible.

Credit is also due to the tireless work Washington County Basic Rights Action Team activists Mark, Heather, Monte, Michael, Jim, Daniel, Roger, Leslea, Teri, Wayne, Tom, Jeff, Laura, Adam, David, Ben, Carmen, Marylynn, Patty, Sue, Asher, Lesley, Robin, Diane, Justin and Josh whose initiative, committment and passion prove that change can happen at every level when people come together.

Thank you Hillsboro and Congratulations to the Washington County Basic Rights Action Team!

Tonight's victory is a step in the right direction for Oregon, but our fight is far from over, as Frank Dixon reminded reporters after the vote: ''While tonight's vote is a win for equality, we still have work to do,'' he said. ''In most of the state a person can be fired from a job, denied a home or turned away from a table in a restaurant simply because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Most Oregonians already believe that this kind of discrimination is wrong and it's time for the State Legislature to make it against the law. Freedom from discrimination should not depend on one's zip code.''

Want to get involved in your community's Basic Rights Action Team and make change happen where you live? Email Thomas@basicrights.org or call 503-222-6151

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By Anonymous Kurt D. Koester, at August 16, 2006 5:17 AM

This means NOTHING if there isn't some "teeth" put into enforcement. I live in Portland/Multnomah County and I have and AM being discriminated against and harassed because I'm gay and I've been "working through the system" for over a year and a half and NOTHING has happened. I still get called "Faggot!" at work, co-workers were circulating an actual petition to try and get me fired and when a co-worker asked if the person circulating this petition was only doing so because I am gay, that person immediately replied, "Yes!"

Rules, laws, ordinances are WORTHLESS and nothing but photo ops and marketing tools when they are NOT enforced. In the meantime, the person(s) being discriminated and/or harassed have their lives completely DESTROYED by the homophobes. After all, it's just another pathetic fag and/or dyke. Make their life miserable enough and they'll just leave. And I moved to Portland to specifically AVOID having to deal with this kind of CRAP!    

By Blogger Bryan Boyd, BRO, at August 16, 2006 10:15 AM

There are things that can be done aside from telling your boss as it doesn't seem like that helps.

Please contact our office and we can direct you to the right folks.


-Bryan Boyd, BRO    

By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 16, 2006 11:46 AM

This is a great victory, not just for those in Hillsboro GLBT community who will be directly affected by this, but for those around the state who are looking for a case study on how to pass laws like this. I haven't been following this too closely till now, but it sounds like it was so successful because the process was so open, and included supporting testimony from a wide coalition of interests. Ultimately, you were able to secure unanimous passage of the law. Though the process may have been slower and more arduous than you might have hoped, I think that by going with the most open and direct route and building those coalitions, this victory will be far less susceptible to public criticism and backlash than some previous efforts.

Once again, congrats on a great victory for all fair-minded Oregonians.    

By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 17, 2006 12:23 AM

Has anybody actually thought to ask what the legal implications of a citywide ban are? With this ban implemented, when an incidence of discrimination is made known to the City of Hillsboro, what action has it committed itself to take?

Will they sue a business or landlord to help redress a victim's injuries? Answering these questions could help to quell some of the automatic thought of doubt some people may be having about Hillsboro's notable action on behalf of GlBT people and best interests of the community in general.    

By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 17, 2006 10:28 AM

i think everyone who pays taxes and lives as a citizen of the u.s. should be heard and given consideration. it's unamerican to look down on anyone based on gender, income level, marital preferrence, or religious beliefs, and frankly i am in fear for my child's generation and all to come after us, since our society is moving in such an elitist direction, where is the love and humanity? it's like you don't matter if you're in any way different, and we allow the powers that be to reform the laws to their satisfaction, like sheep we just go along with it, like allowing the bush family to be our nation's totem. we make other countries hate us, because we're stupid and blind, let's stop the insanity, folks, or your children and grandchildren will suffer for it. ever read that book called "the handmaid's tale"? that's what we are becoming. please wake up, united states. read between the lines and carefully examine all of the fine print.    

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