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Oregon domestic partnership bill to take effect Jan. 1 after failed referendum bid

[JURIST] Opponents of an Oregon law [HB 2007 text] that would allow same-sex couples to enter into contractual domestic partnerships [JURIST news archive] with the same state benefits as married couples did not get enough signatures to block the law [press release, PDF], Oregon election officials said Monday. If opponents had collected the required number of signatures, the law would have been been put to a popular vote on the November 2008 ballot. Instead, the law will go into effect on January 1 as scheduled, making Oregon the ninth US state to recognize spousal rights of same-sex couples.

The measure, by the Oregon Senate in May and the Oregon House [JURIST reports] in April, covers state benefits including inheritance, child custody, and hospital visitation rights, but does not affect federal benefits for married couples. Gov. Ted Kulongoski signed [JURIST report] the bill into law in May. It is not yet known if opponents gathered enough signatures to block a second gay rights law [SB 2 text] protecting individuals against discrimination based on sexual orientation. That bill would ban discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations, and create a civil cause of action for violations of the act. KGW has more.

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