For the past few weeks I have heard from many of you expressing your concerns pro and con regarding SB2 and HB2007. By now most of you are aware that SB2 bans discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, employment and public places throughout the state. HB 2007 creates a method of legal recognition for same-sex relationships in Oregon, namely domestic partnerships.
As your representative I feel a responsibility to listen to your concerns and try to make your wishes heard. Sometimes this is not difficult when the issue is one that is fairly similarly viewed within the district. However, it is an entirely different concern when there are widely divergent opinions on a particular issue.
This was the situation with the above two bills. Adding to the complexity was the complication of religion and moral beliefs, and people’s rights. While there were many people with strong religious convictions that opposed these bills there were also a large number of church groups that strongly supported the legislation. Given that situation, I had to make a very difficult vote.
While I respect the position of Oregon voters on Measure 36, which banned same-sex marriage, I also know that many voters who did so believed same-sex couples should have some protections for their relationships in the form of a civil union or domestic partnership.
Many voters further stated that discrimination in things like jobs and housing is wrong. Having lived through the civil rights years where the differential treatment of people who were different was exposed as unfair I believe that our state is strengthened when all who live and work here are equal under the law. No one should be fired from a job, denied a table in a restaurant, or blocked from making medical decisions for a loved one in an emergency simply because of their sexual orientation. Discrimination has no place in our state, and as such I felt compelled to vote for the bills.
Interestingly there is something of a precedent from our district regarding this issue. When former Rep. Chuck Norris held this legislative seat in 1989, HB 2784 came to the floor on one of the last days of the session, July 2nd. That bill essentially stated that sexual orientation was a category that could not be intimidated against. The outcome of that vote was 31-29 with Rep. Norris being the deciding vote.
Thank you, Representative Jenson, for your courage in making this difficult decision. You did the right thing.
75% of Oregon Senators said YES to equality, NO to discrimination based on sexual orientation!
Today the State Senate moved Oregon another step closer to basic fairness by passing Senate Bill 2, the Oregon Equality Act. In a vote of 21 to 7, Senators declared a resounding YES to equality, and a resounding NO to discrimination.
"This is a great beginning to a historic legislative session," said Aisling Coghlan, Interim Executive Director of Basic Rights Oregon. "The Senate clearly agrees with the majority of Oregonians, that discrimination based on sexual orientation is wrong and should be against state law."
Immediately after the vote, Senate President Peter Courtney said, "After an extraordinary debate, the Oregon State Senate came together again to show that equality is not a partisan issue".
Statewide law banning discrimination was first proposed in 1973, and has been proposed in nearly every legislative session since then. ...
Right now your elected officials are debating two historic bills to advance equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Oregonians.
The Oregon Equality Act (SB 2) would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Oregon. And the Oregon Family Fairness Act (HB 2007) would legally recognize same-sex couples and provide them and their families with important protections, rights and responsibilities.
Social conservatives have made stopping both these bills a top priority for 2007. Already they are flooding the state capitol with hundreds of anti-equality calls and letters.
Your State Representative needs to hear from you today that you support both SB 2 and HB 2007! Make a call or send an email today! ...
“Iraqis need to be their own street cops, not U.S. forces,” Senator Smith said, “This is the President’s Hail Mary pass. Now it is up to the Iraqi Army to catch the ball. We are extending an ineffective tactic to further the status quo. Iraqis must be the ones to settle their own peace.”
Got that? We are extending an ineffective tactic to further the status quo. Now here's Iraq the Model:
Since the multiple bombings in Shroja market district on the 12th, Baghdad hasn’t seen any major attacks and there’s a tangible decrease in all kinds of attacks.
Not only official statements say so (Defense ministry officials said today that attacks are down by 80% in Baghdad). It’s a reality I live in nowadays, at least in my neighborhood and its surroundings. It is also what I hear from friends and relatives in other parts of the city.
We are hearing fewer explosions and less gunfire now than two weeks ago and that, in Baghdad, qualifies as quiet.
I agree with what some experts say about this lull in violence being the result of militants keeping their heads down for a while. It is also possibly the result of the flight of the commanders of militant groups. Grunts left without planners, money or leaders wouldn’t want to do much on their own.
During my tour in Baghdad today I had to pull over to be searched at several checkpoints — something that has rarely happened to me before. When you are searched soldiers or policemen check the identity cards of passengers, and the registration papers of the vehicle along with a thorough physical search. Checkpoints deal even more strictly with large vans and cargo trucks.
The interesting thing about new checkpoints is the constant shifting of their location. One hour the checkpoint would be here and two hours later it would relocate to another position within the area. I think this helps security forces avoid becoming targets instead of hunters.
“While I am certainly grateful for his service to our country and admire his patriotism, General George Casey presided over the failed policy in Iraq. A failure should not result in a promotion. I have expressed frustration with the Administration’s strategy in Iraq. General Casey’s leadership is part of the status quo and we must go in a new direction.”
In reality, it is not General Casey, but Senator Smith who is working for American failure in Iraq.
It is a fallacy to believe that this "reduction" will force a depletion in missions thus keeping our troops out of harms way. To believe that is to completely misunderstand or purposefully ignore the types of missions that would still have to occur in order to supply our forces that will still be in theater as well as support the Iraqi Army and police, even if they were in a position to stand up in the manner and number necessary to do the job our forces have been doing.
Our troops are out routinely sweeping the roads for IEDs, watching for ambushes and doing reconnaisance. None of which goes away because we have "reduced" the number of troops in the field.
If we continue to have success in the War on Radical Islamists, it means it will indeed continue for some time to come. If we "fail," or cut-and-run, it means people like the Clintons will once again have the White House remade into Animal House. After all, who wants to deal with serious issues when there's so much fun to had and so many more interns to, uh, have.
... None of these Mal Nars [malignant narcissists], of course, ever speak of victory or success. Instead, they want it to be like a television show, which ends at a specific time, regardless of result. Imagine had we fought World War II that way.
Winston at The Spirit of Man makes it short and sweet: 'GOP guys [well, most of them - aa] know that failure in Iraq is not an option and that's why they could block the defeatocratic party resolution in the US Senate against the troop surge. If the United States loses the struggle against Islamofascism in Iraq, no one else would ever take them seriously over any thing. Therefore the US deserves any support it can get in order to win the current battle against evil folks in Iraq.'
Log Cabin calls on Senate Democrat leaders to allow a vote on a pro-gay amendment to the Fair Minimum Wage Act. GOP Senator Gordon Smith's amendment would ease the tax burden for domestic partner benefits. The Domestic Partner Health Benefits Equity Act would correct an unfair provision in the tax code that blocks self-employed people from deducting their domestic partner's health insurance premium costs.
"I am for cutting taxes and this amendment does just that," said Senator Smith (R-OR). "Nontraditional families are part of the fabric of our society and deserve fair treatment. The tax code weighs heavily on small business owners as it is, we shouldn't increase the burden by leaving this inequity on the books."
Senator Smith was prevented from offering his amendment during a recent Finance Committee hearing because Democrat Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) threatened to rule it out of order. Now Smith has introduced his amendment to the entire Senate, but Baucus is still threatening to use arcane Senate rules to stop the amendment.
"Democrat leaders should allow a vote on this important amendment. LGBT Democrats gave a lot of money and support to their Party last November," said Log Cabin President Patrick Sammon. "Now Senate Democrats better not block the first piece of pro-gay legislation in the 110th Congress. Majority Leader Harry Reid should stop Senator Baucus from obstructing this amendment and allow a vote by the full Senate."
Current law allows small business owners, independent contractors, and consultants to deduct the total cost of their health insurance premiums. They also can deduct the premiums for their spouse and children, but not domestic partners. Smith's bill would correct that inequity. "This common sense legislation will provide basic fairness for hard working gay and lesbian families," said Sammon. "We applaud Senator Smith for leading the fight to provide tax fairness for all Americans."
Gay Patriot has a few things to say. 'What universe did we just get transported to? The one where a Republican Senator offers common sense, pro-gay legislation and where the Democrats stand in the way? The same universe that has seen gay people offer time and treasure to the Democrat Party for decades yet has gotten nothing in return except a Democrat President who signed off on two of the most anti-gay policies in our lifetime? Oh yeah…. we’ve been living in that universe already… silly me.' Read the rest at the link.
Now, after months of hard work by the grassroots activists of the Washington County Basic Rights Action Team, we have made another giant step forward in that fight.
The City of Hillsboro Tuesday evening nanimously approved a city-wide ban on discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodation on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity after hearing public testimony from faith leaders, business owners and the GLBT community in support of the legislation. The preliminary vote followed months of work by the Washington County Basic Rights Action Team to lobby the Hillsboro city council and build community support for the new law. Final approval is expected in the next two weeks.
In enacting this law, the City of Hillsboro has joined two Oregon counties and eight cities that have enacted similar laws: Multnomah County, Benton County, Salem, Portland, Beaverton, Bend, Ashland, Lake Oswego, Eugene and Lincoln City.
In a statement released to media after the vote, Basic Rights Oregon Interim Executive Director Frank Dixon said, ''With this vote Hillsboro has affirmed that our communities are strengthened when each of our citizens are treated fairly under the law no matter where they work, live or travel."
Basic Rights Oregon is particularly grateful for the tremendous leadership of Mayor Tom Hughes and City Councilor Ed Dennis whose commitment to equality made this vote possible.
Credit is also due to the tireless work Washington County Basic Rights Action Team activists Mark Lee, Monte Rehling, Michael Sandmeyer, Jim Maguire, Leslea Smith and Teri Noble whose initiative, committment and passion prove that change can happen at every level when people come together.
I canvassed for BRO a couple of weeks ago, and I'm glad to see that we've been successful here. Go to the link for the rest of the article, and be sure to read the comments to understand why legal protections still matter.
Ben Westlund has dropped out of the governor's race in Oregon. I have to admit that I'm both disappointed and relieved. I genuinely liked Westlund and he seemed like a man with both principles and ideas. But he must have concluded that he would not be able to win a three-way race, and he had pledged from the beginning not to act as a "spoiler".
To say I'm not crazy about today's Democratic Party would be an understatement. But I don't mind voting for Democrats as long as they stay away from Washington so they can't do any real damage. Gay rights issues are very much alive here, and thanks to groups like Basic Rights Oregon we are reaching people. Kulongoski is a decent man and he supports our struggle for fairness.
Plus I really, really, really don't like Ron Saxton.
The May primary election hit Kevin Looper like a head-butt.
Looper, 36, is a genial, grizzly-sized political consultant who moved to Portland six years ago and is now perhaps the state's top voter-turnout guru.
If you want to know how often the average unregistered slacker changes addresses, opens his mail or is likely to be home and lucid enough to sign a voter registration card, Looper is your man.
Looper is also a partisan. A big-D Democrat who works for the union-backed group Our Oregon. The Nebraska native says Oregon's progressive reputation—and its mountains—are why he moved here.
"Oregon is the last great place in this country," Looper says. "And I want to see it stay that way."
But what Looper learned from the May primary extinguished his habitual smile. Most of us just saw a tepid election with low turnout, especially among young voters. Looper saw confirmation of something far more profound: a reliably blue state on the verge of turning red. ...
22, of Milwaukie, Ore.; assigned to the 40th Engineer Battalion, Baumholder, Germany; killed June 17 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee during combat operations in Ramadi, Iraq. Also killed was Sgt. Reyes Ramirez.
Mid-Willamette Valley Regional Office Up and Running
Thursday morning, June 15th, the Mid-Willamette Valley Team was pleased to open its campaign headquarters in downtown Eugene. With signature gatherers swarming statewide and buzz building, Courtney and Jonathan now have a mid-valley place to call home.
Feel free to swing by the new office any time. Courtney and Jonathan could always use more hands, minds and cookies. They're located at 360 E 11th Ave in downtown Eugene.