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Oregon Group Applauds Failure of Anti-Gay MeasureSalem-News.com
Oregon stays two steps ahead of the dark ages for the time being.
(PORTLAND, Ore.) - Anti-gay activists have fallen short in their attempt to force a referendum on Oregon's recently passed domestic partnership law. 60,531 raw signatures were submitted, but after checking the signatures for duplications and other errors, the Secretary of State determined that the petition did not meet the 55,179 valid signature threshold required to qualify a referendum to the ballot.
"This is a proud day for Oregon," Basic Rights Oregon executive director John Hummel said in response to the news. "In refusing to sign these petitions, Oregonians showed that they aren't interested in rolling back our anti-discrimination laws."
Oregon's domestic partnership law was signed by Governor Kulongoski in May after it passed the legislature with wide support. The law creates legal recognition for same-sex couples through domestic partnerships, giving committed couples certain legal rights and responsibilities, like hospital visitation rights, and the ability to make medical decisions for one another in a crisis.
Hummel said the failure of anti-gay groups to meet a very low signature threshold is clear evidence that the groups are out of step with Oregon values.
"Oregonians know that discrimination is wrong," he said. "They believe it's wrong for a good employee to be fired just because they are gay - and it's past time for Oregon's law books to say so. And they know that committed couples should have the legal means to take care of each other, especially in a crisis."
A second petition that would force a vote on a law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing and public accommodations was submitted with 59,761 raw signatures. Signatures on that petition are still being reviewed in county elections offices.
Both laws go into effect on January 1st 2008, but anti-gay groups have said they plan to launch a new campaign to repeal the laws.
"It's unfortunate that this small group doesn't get the message: most Oregonians know that discrimination is wrong," Hummel said. "We look forward to the day when Oregon can close the book on this divisive chapter of our history."
Source: Oregon Basic Rights
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