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Oregon Gov. to promote gay civil rights, civil unions

Big cheers for ally OR Governor Ted Kulongoski, left; House Majority leader opposes the bills.

(Gay News From

In his “state-of-the-state” address to a joint session of the Legislature Monday Kulongoski said he would submit a bill this year to “defend social justice, tolerance and diversity.” The speech marked the opening of the 2005 session of the Legislature.

We also face a great moral challenge: To make sure that opportunity is an open door through which every citizen can pass — not a revolving door that turns for some and doesn’t budge for others,” Kulongoski told lawmakers.

This is a moral challenge because if we do not defend social justice, tolerance and diversity — then the progress we make on the economic front will be bought with compromised principles and a weakened human spirit,” Kulongoski said. “That is not a trade-off I can accept.”

Kulongoski has been a longtime supporter of a gay civil rights law but attempts to get a bill through the Legislature have faced tough opposition in the past. This time he linked the issue to the state’s economy saying a civil rights law would help bring new business into the Oregon. Kulongoski also said he supported a proposed bill to legalize civil unions. The legislation would give gay couples many of the rights of married people.

House Majority Leader Wayne Scott (R-Canby) said he would oppose both bills calling them “unnecessary.”

In November Oregon voters joined voters in 10 other states to approve a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding