Oregon hate crimes and domestic partner bill may be delayed

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    Sep 28, 2007 12:02 AM GMT

    From Basic Rights Oregon (www.basicrights.org):

    "Opponents of our pro-equality bills are claiming to have turned in 63,000 signatures on both the Anti-Discrimination law and the Domestic Partnership law.

    Amid reports that their efforts to roll back Oregon’s new anti-discrimination laws were faltering, anti-gay activists today turned in barely enough signatures to meet the 55,179 minimum required by the Secretary of State to force a referendum on the laws. Because of likely duplications and other errors by signature gatherers, it is too early to tell whether the effort was successful.

    “We are encouraged,” Hummel said today at the Capitol, where he was joined by supporters of the laws. “In refusing to sign these petitions, Oregonians showed that they aren’t interested in rolling back our anti-discrimination laws.”

    The Oregon Secretary of State has 30 days to determine whether either referendum has qualified. Hummel said Basic Rights Oregon plans to closely monitor the signature verification process to ensure that only valid signatures are counted.

    “We will be here in Salem every day to observe the process,” Hummel said. “We won’t rest until the outcome is known.”

    Both laws were passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor last May. They are slated to go into effect on January 1, 2008, unless the referenda qualify for the ballot.

    Read more at: http://www.basicrights.org/?p=78
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    Sep 28, 2007 3:58 AM GMT
    I'm not too worried. From what I know of Oregon, the people there will likely vote to keep the anti-discrimination laws in place, even if it DOES make it to a referendum. What kind of people would vote to take away an anti-discrimination law?? That seems a little silly.

    We had a similar bill pass here in Iowa this year, and there was little fuss over it. Protecting people's rights doesn't seem to be too controversial (or at least it shouldn't).
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    Oct 09, 2007 4:37 AM GMT
    Opponents fail to gather enough valid signatures to force a referendum vote on Oregon's new domestic partner law scheduled to go into effect 1/1/08.


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    Oct 09, 2007 6:41 PM GMT
    Is there any information on the people who are anti the discrimination laws?

    I tried to find who on a quick search but was unsuccessful.

    I know that the first group that comes to mind are the religious or social conservatives. But I think that is a bias and prejudice on my part and would rather know the facts.

    In any case, I can't find any logical reasoning for why one would be against such laws. I can think of ridiculous fears that people might have, but those are not logical.

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    Oct 10, 2007 1:53 AM GMT
    They are mostly church groups. There is some info (albeit from their opponents) at


    In our area, the petition drive was led by a woman who is usually an activist for private property rights. It's odd that she doesn't see the contradictions there.

    It's scary though, that this petition failed by only just over a hundred signatures. If there had been any big church holidays over the summer, to draw in bigger crowds, the petition would have sailed through.

    And the count isn't in yet on the anti-anti-discrimination petition. There are also a number of recall drives that did qualify for the ballot, against legislators who voted for the anti-discrimination laws.

    It's all fairly exasperating: with all of these double- and triple- anti's, few people probably know what they're voting for.
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    Oct 20, 2007 4:06 AM GMT
    Now the anti-anti-discrimination initiative has failed, by just over 1000 signatures. Next, the hate groups will launch their own counteracting bills, since they were unable to overturn the legislation. They have a lot more time to gather signatures for that.

    My Mom is on vacation, and I've been collecting her papers. Although I know better, I've been scanning through the local editorial and letters-to-the editor page. The church-ladies can't understand how they've failed. "After all, (they) had no trouble ...out-lawing gay marriage, or preventing the local high school from allowing a gay-straight alliance club to form." The most common message among the letters seems to be that gay rights means legalized rape of children. I wonder if that's really the slogan they'll be using next year.
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    Oct 20, 2007 4:16 AM GMT
    On the up side - They need 82,000 valid signatures to get an initiative on the ballot to overturn either law, which is significantly more than the 55,179 they failed to gather this round. The down side is they do have more time - until July 2008 (I think).

    Both laws will go into effect 1/1/08 as scheduled. . . .and my partner and I are getting a domestic parthership ASAP!
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    Dec 29, 2007 2:56 AM GMT
    ...aaaaand just when you thought it was safe...

    PORTLAND, Ore. - A federal judge on Friday placed on hold a state domestic partnership law that was set to take effect Jan. 1, pending a February hearing.

    The law would give some spousal rights to same-sex couples.

    Opponents asked U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman to intercede after the Oregon secretary of state's office ruled in October that they had failed to collect enough valid signatures on a referendum to block the law.

    The Oregon measure covers benefits related to inheritance rights, child-rearing and custody, joint state tax filings, joint health, auto and homeowners insurance policies, visitation rights at hospitals and others. It does not affect federal benefits for married couples, including Social Security and joint filing of federal tax returns.

    After the Legislature approved the domestic partnership law this year, gay rights opponents launched an effort to collect enough signatures to suspend the law and place it on the November 2008 ballot for a statewide vote.

    But state elections officials said this fall that the effort fell 116 valid signatures short of the 55,179 needed to suspend the law.

    In court Friday, Austin Nimocks, a lawyer for Alliance Defense Fund, which opposes the measure, said the state's review process was flawed, disenfranchising citizens who had signed petitions.

    The state's largest gay rights group, Basic Rights Oregon, criticized the judge's decision.

    "It's unfair our families once again are bearing the brunt of this ongoing struggle," said Jeana Frazzini, a spokesman for the group.

    Eight other states have approved spousal rights in some form for same-sex couples — Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Maine, California, Washington and Hawaii. Massachusetts is the only state that allows gay couples to marry.
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    Dec 29, 2007 9:28 PM GMT

    These are some sad, desperate, hateful people . . . . I'm sure Jesus is happy!! They're doing his work.

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    Dec 30, 2007 4:25 PM GMT
    It's always easy to bash "the church" for this but I think that is throwing the baby out with the bath water. Not every church going person endorses the views of some of the vocal conservative right wing endorsers of discrimination.

    Rather than constantly lumping Christians, believes in Christ and church attenders into one group and then referencing them as the bad guy for gay rights, why not single out the ones that are actually NOT being Christ-like. There are plenty of them I know but there are a lot of us Christians who care deeply for all people regardless of their sexuality.

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    Dec 31, 2007 2:48 AM GMT

    You're correct - They base their argument on their religion; that's what I'm mocking.
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    Dec 31, 2007 3:45 PM GMT
    npdxpr.. Yes, unfortunately by basing their argument on religion and the fact that they classify themselves as Christians, ends up leaving everyone with the impression that Christians in general support this type of rhetoric. I think that is not the case and hopefully those who support anti-discrimination will prove to be the stronger up there. It sure sounds like the group (who doesn't seem to want to provide any information on who they are...that tells you a lot) is definitely in the minority. Thanks for sharing the issue...I do think it's worth while for all people to recognize that discrimination is discrimination no matter how you slice it and that small groups of narrow minded individuals don't necessarily represent the larger entity. Peace.