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Thursday, March 08, 2007

drums along the willamette

I attended the March 7 rally [more] [more] at the state capital. Heavy rain all the way there, but things got better, if a little chilly, by 11:30, when things began and I arrived. I didn't go in afterwards and lobby, but sent in two handwritten letters.

There will be two bills.

Senate Bill 2:
Prohibits, in specified areas of law, discrimination against persons based on sexual orientation. Defines 'sexual orientation.' Authorizes enforcement of prohibition through civil action for actual and punitive damages. Authorizes attorney fees
in civil proceedings for unlawful discrimination. Requires state agencies to eliminate discrimination against persons based on sexual orientation.
One could worry that this bill is not "T" inclusive, but it contains this:

Sexual orientation' means an individual's actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality or gender identity, regardless of whether the individual's gender identity, appearance, expression or behavior differs from that traditionally associated with the individual's sex at birth.

Not the way we'd write it, but potentially more helpful. Everybody thinks we're gay, anyway, except when we try to use "sexual orientation" clauses in discrimination suits. Then it's "Oh, that doesn't apply to you." Similar to the Title 7 decisions where "sex discrimination doesn't apply to you either." This bill will help with some of this double-jeopardy stuff, I hope.

House Bill 2007:
Establishes requirements and procedures for entering into civil union contract between individuals of same sex. Provides that any privilege, immunity, right or benefit granted by law to individual who is or was married is granted to individual who is or was in civil union. Provides that any responsibility imposed by law on individual who is or was married is imposed on individual who is or was in civil union. Provides that any privilege, immunity, right, benefit or responsibility granted or imposed by law to or on spouse with respect to child of either spouse is granted to or imposed on partner with respect to child of either partner.

Sadly, this is not full civil rights -- but it can help with family survival for hundreds -- if not thousands -- of couples, many of whom do have children...

You might ask, what's risa's stake in this one?

Given the history of some court cases, it's clear that in the mind of the dominionists, some of whom are judges, and given the mood of the judiciary in some states, the current status of my currently legal marriage could be in jeopardy. Marriage is generally defined as "till death or divorce." Beloved and I were legal when we married because we were a man and a woman. Now that we're both legally female, someone could say, well, the Oregon Constitution forbids marriage between two women. But we never divorced, and neither of us has died. So our marriage is still in force.

If Beloved were to divorce me now, I could not remarry her. That's a new marriage, and that is covered by the prohibition.

I'm legally female. So I could marry a man. But not in some states or local jurisdictions. In some, I can't marry in either direction.

"Nope. No women. You're -- ahem -- a woman."

"Nope. No men, either. That would be a gay relationship." (!!!!)

In other words, just go away and die, please. You don't exist in this universe. Never mind what the doctors and scientists said.

So if we have civil union in Oregon, Beloved and I will have something to fall back on if the forces of intolerance decide to annul our thirtieth anniversary. Or thirty-first. Et cetera.

If you live in Oregon, please email, write or call your legislators to support these humane and desperately needed bills within the next two weeks. Every right denied to anyone is a loss of rights for all.

Thank you.

risa b


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