Today was our last day in Portland. We said goodbye to our friend Mike and headed to downtown to meet with Alejandro Juarez, the Communications Coordinator for Basic Rights Oregon (BRO). Alejandro talked with us about the incredible progress being made in Oregon. BRO was created in response to the constant attack of anti-LGBT ballot measures. In 2004 Oregon passed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. But the next year BRO was able to pass domestic partnership legislation that gives same-sex couples all the same state rights as married heterosexual couples. Unfortunately, same-sex couples cannot receive federal marriage benefits, which make up 75% of the rights couples receive when married.
BRO has been proactive ever since the defeat of 2004. They have passed statewide employment and housing non-discrimination legislation that includes not only sexual orientation, but also gender identity. Just a few months ago they also passed statewide anti-bullying legislation that will protect queer youth. BRO is now working to gain support in order to go back to the ballot in 2012 and pass a constitutional amendment in favor or same-sex marriage.
It was excellent to hear about all the progress being made in Oregon!
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(This video was taken with the ‘behind-the-scenes’ blog camera and is not the actual footage for the documentary.)