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Oregon House passes anti-discrimination, domestic partnership bills

The Oregon Equality Act (S.B. 2) and the Oregon Family Fairness Act (H.B. 2007) have cleared the state House. The vote on the  former was a solid 35-25 and the Fairness Act tally was 34-26. (Fox12Oregon):

Oregon’s gays and lesbians would win the benefits of marriage and protections against discrimination under landmark bills approved Tuesday by the Oregon House.

The two measures go to the Senate, where they are expected to win approval and be forwarded to Gov. Ted Kulongoski, a strong supporter who plans to sign both.

With dozens of gay rights activists looking on from the upper gallery, the two measures won the unanimous endorsement of the House’s majority Democrats, with a few Republicans adding support.

The anti-discrimination bill provides protection for LGBT citizens in employment, housing and public accommodations.

For three hours, there was public debate on the bills. Portland Democrat Tina Kotek, along with her partner, Aimee, came onto the House floor to say why the DP bill was important. It’s after the flip…From Oregon Public Broadcasting:

“We have no legal right to bereavement or sick leave. We have no legal assumed inheritance rights as married couples do. And although we own a home together, we cannot file our joint state tax return. I’ll be very honest with you. This is unbelievably unfair, and many days, just downright scary.”

Some lawmakers against the bills said they struggled with how to explain their vote. Many cited their Christian faith as part of their opposition to the measures. Representative Greg Smith is a Republican from eastern Oregon. Greg Smith: “If I get emotional, it’s because I truly am about to speak based upon the faith that I hold close to me. And if that offends, I apologize.”

Some lawmakers weren’t so delicate. This is Republican Fred Girod of Stayton. Fred Girod: “I’ll be voting no and I’m proud of it.”

This bill now moves to the Oregon Senate. These bigots never quit. Girod — and the rest of his freeper friends — are going to have a conniption when Ted Kulongoski signs these into law. HRC:

“Legislators in Oregon today significantly advanced the cause of equality for all Oregonians. After these bills are signed, Oregon will be a freer and fairer place for its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “We applaud House Speaker Jeff Merkley and the many legislators who voted today for fairness and equality, Governor Kulongoski who has pledged to sign these bills, our partners at Basic Rights Oregon and all the HRC members in Oregon who worked hard to pass these important protections.”

Hat tip, Gary.

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