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Volume 35
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Oregon passes anti-discrimination law, poised to recognize same-sex couples
Oregon passes anti-discrimination law, poised to recognize same-sex couples
Oregon passes anti-discrimination law, poised to recognize same-sex couples by Lisa Keen - SGN Contributing Writer

The state of Oregon is poised to become the six state in the country to provide some form of legal recognition of same-sex couples and the 17th state to prohibit sexual orientation discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

The Oregon House approved two bills Tuesday-one to establish domestic partnership recognition of same-sex couples, another to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The House Majority Leader's office noted that the bill to prohibit sexual orientation discrimination has been before the legislature for 34 years. That makes it the longest running effort in the country to pass a statewide Gay civil rights law. Washington's legislature passed its measure last year after 29 years.

According to the Oregonian newspaper, the House voted 35-25 in favor of the non-discrimination bill and 34-26 in favor of a domestic partnership bill. The partnership bill now advances to the Senate. The civil rights measure passed the Senate 21 to 7 in March but because the House bill includes some changes, the House version will now go back to the Senate for a final concurrence.

Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski has been a strong supporter of equal rights for Gays and is expected to sign both bills.

If the Oregon domestic partnership law is enacted, the U.S. will have six states with laws that give legal recognition to same-sex relationships-one (Massachusetts) by marriage, three (Vermont, Connecticut, and New Jersey) by civil unions, and two (California and Oregon) by domestic partnership.

Both chambers of the Oregon legislature are Democratic-controlled. Both bills are expected to be approved by the Senate in the next couple of weeks.

The state Senate passed the measures in 2005, but a Republican-controlled House refused to vote on them.

Democrats won control of the state Senate in 2004 and the state House in 2006.

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