[JURIST] Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski [official website] signed two gay rights bills into law [press release] Wednesday, establishing civil unions for gay couples and enacting anti-discrimination measures. House Bill 2007 [text] allows same-sex couples to enter into contractual domestic partnerships with the same state benefits as married couples. The measure covers state benefits including inheritance, child custody, and hospital visitation rights, but does not affect federal benefits for married couples. Kulongoski had said [press release] he would sign the bill if it passed the state House and Senate [JURIST reports]. Kulongoski also signed Senate Bill 2 [text], banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment, housing, and public accommodations, and creating a civil cause of action for violations of the act. KGW has more.
Currently, Vermont, Connecticut, California, New Jersey, Maine and Washington are the only states that recognize civil unions or domestic partnerships. The Washington State Senate passed a domestic partnership bill [JURIST report] in March. Late last month, the New Hampshire Senate voted [JURIST report] in favor of a bill already passed by the state House allowing same-sex civil unions. Also in late April, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer introduced a bill to legalize gay marriage [JURIST report] in New York.