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LIVE! From the House vote on SB2 & HB2007

Outside of the House Majority Leader's office supporters are gathered to celebrate this historic moment. Speaker Merkley, Majority Leader Hunt, Rep. Rosenbaum, Rep. Macphearson, and Rep. Kotek all gave a few remarks before supporters relaying their excitement over the passages of HB2007 and SB2. Majority Leader Hunt mentioned that this is a great moment in our history and giant stride on the path toward equality.

It's okay to breathe. Then shout in excitement for the passing of these two pieces of historic legislation. Both bills will be sent to the Senate for consideration. Even though SB2 was passed once in the Senate, it was amended in the House so it must go back to the Senate. Watch your email for the next steps.

SB2 passes 35-25.

Voting system is open.

Rep. Rosenbaum finished the debate and called for a call of the house requiring the attendance of all members. The vote is coming.

Rep. Rosenbaum is closing the debate on the bill. A vote will be coming shortly. 34 years is long enough to question this bill and debate this bill.

Rep. Kotek just rose as a point personal privilege to request that Rep. Richardson monitor his words as they could be interpreted as attacking her character.

Opponent Rep. Dennis Richardson, R-Central Point, after asking a series of questions is now speaking on the floor of the House. He began stating that he was not going to be speaking about nature vs. nurture, but he's going down a path of comparing not hiring a heavy smoker due to their behavior to discriminating based on sexual orientation.

Following reading a telephone transcript, Rep. Andy Olson, R-Albany, read 1 Corinthians 6:10-11,

"Or don't you know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don't be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor extortioners, will inherit the Kingdom of God."

It was just read on the floor of the House. He concluded that SB2 is a step in the wrong direction.
Rep. Thatcher is continuing her speech on the floor quoting the niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. stating that rights for gays and lesbians are not civil rights. Rather than a niece of Martin Luther King, Jr., I believe that Coretta Scott King might be a more accurate representation of the views of MLK, Jr. when she stated in 1998, "I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice," she said. "But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.'" "I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream to make room at the table of brother- and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people." - Reuters, March 31, 1998.

Rep. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer, is questioning the carriers of the bill regarding the inclusion of transgendered individuals in the definition of sexual orientation. She is continuing her questioning regarding the administration of SB2 and is seeking clarification on a definition of sexual orientation. She "can't wait" for the courts to interpret this law. One part she keeps discussing is the notion of real or perceived sexual orientation. This language exists in SB2 to protect all Oregonians. We heard testimony of individuals being denied services simply because they were perceived to be homosexual, despite the fact they are heterosexual.

Another question from Rep. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas, regarding the hiring practices of private catholic hospitals and how SB2 would affect these practices.

Apologize for the delay. There is questioning of SB2 with regard to some sections regarding the accommodation of those protected in this bill with regards to locker rooms in high schools and employment dress codes. In this latest series we've covered if the Dept. of Corrections was consulted in the drafting of the legislation to the potential financial impact of the bill.

Another young member of the legislature, Rep. David Edwards, rises in support of SB2. "Our social covenant means that together we are responsible for the character of our state." Freedom from discrimination is the important part of this legislation and to be deprived of it is the type of excommunication of our society. "In this moment, I am compelled to own up to God's love...this hour demands the whole of our attention."

Rep. Linda Flores, R-Clackamas, is asking multiple questions regarding some element she considers the bill to require affirmative action for the protected category of sexual orientation. She is now speaking in opposition to the bill. She is claiming that supporters at the hearing last week in the House hearing showed intolerance toward an elderly couple and were given preferential treatment in seating on the hearing. She also stated that she has to vote her values on this bill and will not be voting yes.

House Majority Leader, Dave Hunt, is speaking in support of SB2. He is recounting the history of this type of legislation and how long it has taken to get here. He is describing how he met with 30 religious leaders to develop the religious exemption language. "SB2 gives broad deference to religious institutions." Additionally, there are hundreds of religious organizations across this state that have signed on in support of SB2.
Rep. Hunt shared that at his father's funeral (his father was a pastor) a woman who was a lesbian shared how important his father was in supporting her during a time of reconciling her sexual orientation and her God. That was his legacy and Rep. Hunt stated, "Today is our legacy."

As one who has attended private catholic school, Rep. Chip Shields, is rising to support the bill but with discomforts that religious institutions will still be able to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

Rep. Brad Witt, D-Clatskanie, just rose on the House floor to speak in support of this bill in disbelief that we are still debating elements of civil rights. He stated, Rational human beings do not choose lifetimes of intolerance and discrimination.

A continuation of the supportive legislators on SB2. Rep. Ben Cannon talked about the importance this legislation will have in making it clear to administrators, principles and teachers in our schools that no student should face discrimination. No school should be an unsafe place for learning.

The debate on SB2 has been supportive. There have been a few questions from legislators, but all debate and speeches have been in agreement with providing comprehensive non-discrimination to all Oregonians.

Yea Votes on HB2007
Barker, Barnhart, Berger, Beyer, Bonamici, Boone, Buckley, Burley, Cannon,
Clem, Cowan, Dingfelder, Edwards, C, Edwards, D, Galizio, Gelser, Greenlick,
Holvey, Hunt, Jenson, Komp, Kotek, Macpherson, Nathanson, Nolan, Read,
Riley, Roblan, Rosenbaum, Schaufler, Shields, Tomei, Witt, Speaker Merkley

On Oregon State University day at the Capitol, University of Oregon graduate Rep. Kotek took the floor again to support SB2 that we have been fighting for over 30 years to get into law. She is sharing the stories of those who testified in committee, specifically those of parents who had their children discriminated against just because they were gay. From stories regarding discrimination against opening bank accounts to being denied a room at a hotel at the Oregon Coast just on the basis of sexual orientation.

Rep. Macpherson is the co-sponsor of this bill and spoke about the basic equality that SB2, The Oregon Equality Act, would bring to GLBT persons in Oregon.

Rep. Rosenbaum is presenting SB2.

HB2007 passes 34-26. Three Republicans (Berger, Burley, Jenson) voted yes on HB2007. This was primarily due to great work done by citizens contacting these legislators and urging their support of this legislation. I specifically remember the large group from Bend on BRO's Day of Action spending a good amount of time with Rep. Burley. Thank you for all your hard work in making this a reality. HB2007 now moves to the Senate.

The voting system is now open with regards to if HB2007 should pass.

After about 45 minutes debating the bill, Rep. Kotek is now giving a closing statement on the bill. After this bill, "The world will be different." "This is about bringing people in, not shutting them out."

Rep. Gelser is speaking on the floor regarding the Godmother of her child calling Rep. Gelser after her partner had been hit by a drunk driver. Going through that tragic event the first call was not to friends or family for the Godmother, but it was to the attorney that drafted documents in an attempt to protect this couple in an event like this.
During a difficult child birth it was unclear if Rep. Gelser would survive, but there was not a call to attorneys by her husband to ensure he had custody of the child or the right to make decisions in her best interest. This situation is not true for same-sex couples under current Oregon law and with her vote today, Rep. Gelser hopes to help make things more fair. She urged her colleagues to, "Be courage and be hope."

Rep. Girod is "proud to be voting no. Thanks."

Rep. Chip Shields is speaking to the difference between domestic partnership and marriage.
"I believe years from now we'll remember the historic significance of this moment, but we'll also see plainly the short sightedness of these efforts...it is a big step forward on the road to equality."

Rep. Buckley has taken the floor after some opposition to HB2007. Rep. Buckley is sharing about the lesbian couple that were his neighbors as he was a new parent. Through the struggles he endured in life with the growth of his children, he remembers the lesbian couple there supporting his family. He also remembers watching one of the partners dealing with the passing of a parent and how the lesbian couple did not share the same rights as he did in enduring life events. "When people ask me why we should pass this bill, the answer is why shouldn't we?"

Rep. Richardson is claiming in debate on the floor that HB2007 creates "special rights" because a mother and daughter cannot enter a domestic partnership.

Rep. Kotek just delivered a moving speech with her partner Amy sitting by her side on the floor of the House. She urged her fellow lawmakers to recognize her loving committed relationship like the state currently recognizes their families. She said that this can be one of the best days of a legislator as HB2007 is a chance to make stronger families in Oregon.
Rep. Rosenbaum is continuing to carry this bill on the floor right now.

IT'S TIME! After getting through the daily grind, Speaker Merkely just introduced HB2007 and Rep. Kotek is leading the opening of the debate on the bill.

The session has begun. The former speaker of the House, Karen Minnis, who you may remember from 2005, blocked similar legislation from a vote on the floor of the House, entered after the presentation of arms and pledge of allegiance.


Looking across the Gallery in the House, we've identified another blogger. The Mercury's Amy Ruiz is blogging on Blog Town PDX. Check it out!

The BRO Communications Team is blogging LIVE! from the Gallery of the House as we await the beginning of what should be a historic day for Oregon.

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By Blogger egreensoda, at April 17, 2007 10:48 AM

I can only imagine how many hits your site is getting right now. Everyone is standing by... How many people are there today, I wonder?    

By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 17, 2007 11:15 AM

I was a student at the University of Oregon in 1988 when Lon Mabon's measure 8 passed. (for those too young to remember - it overturned the governor's executive order prohibiting discrimination in public employment, and actually permitted discrimination). I recall how dark and gloomy the morning after felt. I felt like I was living under a cloud for the rest of my time at the U of O (until 91).

Even though I now live in Seattle, I am following the progress of SB2/HB2007 closely. I'm crossing my fingers and wishing the people of Oregon the best of luck. It would also be nice to bring some closure to that dark, depressing Wednesday morning after the Nov 1988 election...


By Anonymous cheryl, at April 17, 2007 11:40 AM

thank you for blogging for us - and for being there for us.

i am so very hopeful . . .


By Blogger Kari Chisholm, at April 17, 2007 12:38 PM

Rock on!

FYI, It's "Chip" Shields, not Chris.    

By Blogger Bryan Boyd, BRO, at April 17, 2007 12:40 PM

Thanks Kari - always on top of it. :)    

By Blogger Kari Chisholm, at April 17, 2007 1:26 PM

This comment has been removed by the author.    

By Blogger Kari Chisholm, at April 17, 2007 1:31 PM

I scratched my comment. Further research proved me wrong.    

By Blogger Kari Chisholm, at April 17, 2007 1:32 PM

The cite was 10:11 - but I didn't look back at 9. It's there, in some versions.


By Anonymous Laura, at April 17, 2007 1:42 PM

Thank you for letting us who could not be there in person participate by reading your postings.

We will look forward to learning when these are in the Senate to be there in person!    

By Anonymous cheryl, at April 17, 2007 2:00 PM

i followed you every step of the way - your words allowed me to be there. thank you. i cried for joy here, in my office.

do you have the final "yea" voters on HB2? i have thankyou notes to write!!!    

By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 17, 2007 4:13 PM

I'm proud of Oregon today. Thank you for all of your work of this and for sharing the details in the Blog.

I would also like to know which Republicans , as well as democrats voted in favor.


By Blogger Karol, at April 17, 2007 4:45 PM

Warm hugs friends and big congratulations on all your work.    

By Blogger kittysimoney, at April 17, 2007 6:29 PM

I am in tears! How awesome. Great work to everyone involved.


By Blogger Bryan Boyd, BRO, at April 17, 2007 6:34 PM

Thank you to all of you who stay engaged in this fight for basic fairness. Our time has come and things are moving.

Thank you so much for all the kind words, but truly, without all of you it wouldn't be possible.

Keep up the great work folks!    

By Blogger wep601, at April 18, 2007 9:00 AM

It has been challenging to remain optimistic in the face of all the set backs over the last couple years, but these victories go a long way toward restoring hope for equality in Oregon! It was only 6 months ago that I was let go from a job in Oregon solely based upon sexual orientation (it was a non-profit org. so I am curious as to what the "exemptions" are that were voted in). Thank you BRO for believing when it has been hard to believe!! Wendy    

By Blogger Bryan Boyd, BRO, at April 19, 2007 12:11 PM

There have been a lot of questions about when these two bills, once law would go into effect. Please go to www.basicrights.org and sign up for our e-newsletter (on the left hand side of the home page). We will be sending out a newsletter today (Thursday) explaining what's next.

Thanks to everyone!    

By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 17, 2007 6:14 PM

Sorry, but the voters voted on how
we feel about the gay situation.
And that should be the last word
on the subject.    

By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 21, 2007 8:35 PM

Actually the voters didn't vote on "the gay situation". Oregon voters said no to marriage for same-sex couples, many because of the term marriage. Domestic Partnerships are not even close to being the same as marriage and Oregonians know this.

Even the proponents of Measure 36 (Oregon Family Council) said civil unions or domestic partnerships are the way to go. They aren't even participating in the referendum attempt. That speaks volumes.    

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