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Oregon Governor Signs LGBT Equality Bills Into Law

A diarist named torridjoe at Daily Kos has the details of what was apparently an emotional bill signing ceremony by Governor Ted Kulongoski with over 100 LGBT activists and allies in attendance at The Capitol in Salem, Oregon on Wednesday. As torridjoe put it, this is “another reminder that ELECTIONS MATTER. These bills died in 2005 despite a Dem-led Senate and Governor’s mansion; the House was still led by the GOP. In 2006 control flipped and–like magic, NOT!–now suddenly they are law.”Other sources also noted the attendance of former governor Barbara Roberts and the fact that today’s historic signing ceremony of the Oregon Family Fairness Act (HB 2007) and the Oregon Equality Act (SB 2) was the culmination of at least 30 years of work. In fact, during his stint as a state legislator back in 1975 Kulongoski had introduced a bill to add sexual orientation to the list of categories protected from employment discrimination but the legislation was not enacted.

Both bills go into effect on Janury 1, 2008, if heterosexual supremacist groups do not file ballot initiatives to repeal either measure. In November 2004, Oregon narrowly passed a ballot measure to amend its constitution to ban gay marriage and in the decade before that had been the site for nearly a dozen anti-gay ballot measures, almost all of which had been defeated, most notoriously Ballot Measure 9, which the fight against was made into an award-winning documentary by Heather MacDonald. So far, their have been no quotes from conservative “family” groups that they intend to put the civil rights of LGBT individuals of Oregon up for popular vote.

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