'Simple fairness means the same rights, protections and responsibilities for everyone,' said HRC President Joe Solmonese.
WASHINGTON - The Oregon Senate made history today by passing S.B. 1000 - a bill that would grant critical rights and protections to same-sex couples and their children as well as banning discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
"Simple fairness means the same rights, protections and responsibilities for everyone," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "By passing this important legislation, the Oregon Senate has said that every family needs the same rights and protections and that no one should face discrimination simply because of who they are. These are American values that should be enshrined in our laws."
HRC is working closely with Basic Rights Oregon - the statewide LGBT advocacy group - on a coordinated grassroots strategy for the passage of the civil union and anti-discrimination bill. This effort has included on-the-ground staff support and generating constituent contacts to legislators.
"The Senate's historic vote today reflects the values of an overwhelming majority of Oregonians who believe that discrimination against gay and lesbian people and their families is wrong," said Roey Thorpe, executive director of Basic Rights Oregon. "Now is the time for Oregon to take this historic vote one step further by not only condemning discrimination, but prohibiting it in the law."
The bill will now move to the House where a "reciprocal benefits" bill has been introduced that only grants a few rights to couples and does not address discrimination protections that are a critical part of S.B. 1000.
"Fair-minded leaders must ensure that protections are not handed out piecemeal," said Solmonese. "Given Nike's historic support, Governor Kulongoski's steadfast backing, and endorsements from business and religious leaders from across the state, the Legislature should hasten the passage of S.B. 1000."
Oregon voters passed a constitutional amendment in November excluding same-sex couples from marriage, but did not deal with the issue of civil unions.
"Supporters of the amendment argued that the Legislature should consider civil unions for same-sex couples," said Solmonese. "It is time for them to make good on their word."
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.
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