CommunityPam's House Blend

Oregon anti-discrimination and civil union bills on the move

Things are happening in Oregon. Blender risa b reports that two important bills in the state legislature. First, Senate Bill 2 passed last week and moves to the House where the vote is expected to be close. The bill:

“Prohibits, in specified areas of law, discrimination against persons based on sexual orientation. Defines ‘sexual orientation.’ Authorizes enforcement of prohibition through civil action for actual and punitive damages. Authorizes attorney fees in civil proceedings for unlawful discrimination. Requires state agencies to eliminate discrimination against persons based on sexual orientation.”

Risa b notes, “One could worry that this bill is not “T” inclusive ([I’m MTF], but it contain this:”

“Sexual orientation’ means an individual’s actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality or gender identity, regardless of whether the individual’s gender identity, appearance, expression or behavior differs from that traditionally associated with the individual’s sex at birth.”

As you can imagine, the wingers dragged out the usual arguments…read about that, and the civil unions bill, after the jump.This is a broken record.

Several Republican senators criticized the religious exemption in the bill as too weak. They said it might not protect some activities sponsored by religious groups. Others said it will penalize employers, lead to pro-gay lesson plans in schools, and have a chilling effect on people who oppose homosexuality on religious grounds.

“This bill creates protected-class status for people based on behavior,” said Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg.

“There’s no vast discrimination” in Oregon based on sexual orientation, said Sen. Bruce Starr, R-Hillsboro. Rather, the bill is aimed at winning acceptance of homosexuals, he said.

And how about this winning objection:

One of the seven objecting senators, Bruce Starr of Hillsboro, said there was no reason for the law, because gays as a group earn more, are better educated and live in better homes. Following that reasoning to its illogical conclusion suggests that wealthy Ph.D.s should not be given constitutional protections in the state of Oregon.

Turning to the civil unions measure, this should definitely rile Star to no end: House Bill 2007, The Oregon Family Fairness Act:

“Establishes requirements and procedures for entering into civil union contract between individuals of same sex. Provides that any privilege, immunity, right or benefit granted by law to individual who is or was married is granted to individual who is or was in civil union. Provides that any responsibility imposed by law on individual who is or was married is imposed on individual who is or was in civil union. Provides that any privilege, immunity, right, benefit or responsibility granted or imposed by law to or on spouse with respect to child of either spouse is granted to or imposed on partner with respect to child of either partner.”

Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski supports civil unions, so if it passes, it will receive his signature. Gay Rights Watch says that it will be debated soon:

After talking to a few staffers in Salem this week it sounds as if HB 2007, the Oregon Family Fairness Act (civil unions) will get its first hearing in early April, the house will vote out SB 2 and then send HB 2007 on to the Oregon House for a vote, then it’s on the Governor Kulongoski for two big fat signatures.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding