Oregon State Senate Passes Domestic Partnership Act

by HRC Staff

SALEM, ORE. - Today, in a bipartisan show of support, members of the Oregon state Senate approved the Oregon Family Fairness Act (H.B. 2007) by a vote of 21 to 9. The act would establish domestic partnerships for committed same-sex couples and provide all the same state-granted privileges, immunities, rights, benefits and responsibilities for same-sex couples entering a domestic partnership as are granted to married couples.

"With this bill, members of the Oregon Senate have recognized the common humanity of all Oregonians and provided many critical protections to the state's same-sex couples and their families," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "We applaud Senate President Peter Courtney and the many legislators who voted today for fairness and equality, Governor Kulongoski who asked for passage of this bill, our partners at Basic Rights Oregon and all the HRC members in Oregon who worked hard to pass these important protections."

When the bill is signed by the governor, Oregon will become the 10th state to provide significant protections to committed same-sex couples. Massachusetts provides equal marriage rights Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey and California recognize civil unions or domestic partnerships that provide all the state-level protections of marriage to same-sex couples Hawaii has a reciprocal beneficiaries law and Maine and the District of Columbia provide registered domestic partners some level of critical protection. The Washington state domestic partnerships law will go into effect on July 22, 2007, and New Hampshire will begin recognizing civil unions on Jan. 1, 2008.

"This is an incredible victory for all Oregonians. Today, Oregon GLBT couples and their families will now have the security of over 500 rights, responsibilities and protections that are currently only available to straight couples via a marriage contract," said Basic Rights Oregon Interim Executive Director Aisling Coghlan. "Basic Rights Oregon would especially like to thank the Human Rights Campaign who have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with us, be it through financial or staff support, in the fight for basic fairness for all Oregonians. For that we are forever grateful."

The Human Rights Campaign is proud to have partnered with Basic Rights Oregon in 2006 to elect a fair-minded majority to the Oregon Legislature and this year to pass pro-equality legislation. HRC has invested in this partnership through direct financial and technical assistance to Basic Rights Oregon. In addition, HRC has consistently worked to mobilize its members in Oregon to support the strategic goals of Basic Rights Oregon and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Oregonians.

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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