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Oregon governor introduces legislation to recognize same-sex civil unions

[JURIST] Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski [official website] and a bipartisan group of state senators introduced legislation [Kulongoski press release] Wednesday that would recognize civil unions for same-sex couples and would outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation. The text of Senate Bill 1000 is not yet available online, but Kulongoski says the bill would:

  • Amend Oregon's existing non-discrimination laws to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, employment, public accommodation, education and public services statewide; and

  • Amend ORS chapter 106 to create civil unions, defined as a civil contract entered into by two members of the same sex who are at least 17 years of age and are not first cousins or nearer of kin, and are not parties to a marriage or another civil union. While a civil union is not a marriage, it would impose the legal protections, rights and responsibilities generally afforded to opposite sex couples through marriage.
Basic Rights Oregon [advocacy website] welcomed Kulongoski's "tremendous public and personal commitment to ending discrimination." The advocacy group is currently challenging [PDF complaint; JURIST report] the constitutional amendment [text] approved by voters last November that bans same-sex marriage in the state. KGW.com has more [free registration required].

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