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Reelect Gov. Ted Kulongoski

In the coming weeks we'll tell you more about our fight to reach each of our three campaign goals, but the any victory will mean little if we do not reach our third winning objective: to reelect Governor Ted Kulongoski.

Here's why: Governor Kulongoski's opponent, Ron Saxton, is an anti-GLBT candidate who supported Measure 36, has stated publicly that he doesn't believe discrimination is a problem in Oregon and has vowed to veto any pro-equality legislation that crosses his desk should he be elected. If he is elected, the real consequence is that legislative progress in our movement for at least the next four years will be brought to an abrupt and unfortunate halt.

But it's also worth mentioning that there is good reason to reelect Governor Ted Kulongoski aside from the threat Ron Saxton poses. As a movement, we are lucky to live in a state where the fact is our Governor has done more to stake out a public position in favor of GLBT equality and use the office to advocate for equality than any other Governor in the country. Period. While we continue to push for stronger, bolder, more creative leadership at every level of government, we cannot lose sight of what this Governor has done for the GLBT community from the beginning of his career and at every step along the way. Here is just a snapshot:

  • As a first term legislator, Governor Kulongoski introduced Oregon's first anti-discrimination legislation in the 1970s.

  • He has consistently and publicly opposed and campaigned against anti-GLBT ballot measures.

  • As Attorney General, the Governor directed his staff to draft an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court on Oregon's behalf arguing that Colorado's anti-GLBT Amendment 2 was unconstitutional -- a brief that was widely considered to have a significant impact in getting the measure thrown out.

  • In his first term as Governor, he introduced anti-discrimination legislation, and requested the landmark Senate Bill 1000, which passed the Senate in 2005 and would have created civil unions for same-sex couples and banned discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

  • Following the 2005 session the Governor formed the Governor's Task Force on Equality to continue to move the issue of relationship rights and anti-discrimination forward between legislative sessions.

  • And, most recently, the Governor has appointed a senior staff-member as an official liaison to the GLBT community.

    It is your effort and contribution that will help decide the outcome of this race. We have come together in unprecedented ways to defend our community when it is under attack. Now we must do the same to make change. Get involved. Save the date now for our "Out for Equality" statewide day of action on October 14th and stay tuned for details about what you can do to help.
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  • By Anonymous Raymond H., at October 02, 2006 3:05 AM

    "He has consistently and publicly opposed and campaigned against anti-GLBT ballot measures."

    Kulongoski was and remains against marriage equality in Oregon, and that said more to the voters in Oregon on measure 36 than any opposition he may have expressed (and my was it tepid) on the passage of that measure.

    Activists on GayRightsWatch were less than affectionate over his (also tepid) response in support of the civil unions legislation.

    Is there an alternative? Perhaps not, so it comes down to 'vote for our tepid supporter, the alternative is worse.'

    That's a sad state of things in Oregon politics.

    Perhaps BRO can get involved earlier in the process and support up and coming candidates whose support will get us our civil rights, rather than merely keep them from slipping.    

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