Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Bubble Hath Burst: Domestic Partnership on Hold in Oregon

Photo courtesy of unprofound and edited by me

The news came to me later than it did for others in the blogosphere. I didn't find out until my beloved called me at Noon today to share what our lesbian boss told her. That January 2nd we will not be able to get a legal partnership in Oregon.

Truthfully I'm so shocked I can hardly even speak or think. I knew there was a possibility that there could be a delay but I figured the possibility had the odds of like, getting struck by lightening. Fuk.

What happened was a conservative "christian" group called The Alliance Defense Fund filed a suit against the State of Oregon & Bill Bradbury (our Secretary of State) claiming that some signatures on referendum petitions against domestic partnerships were tossed out unfairly and that the people whose signatures were considered invalid should have been properly notified. In order for there to be a delay to the domestic partnerships going legal on January 2nd the plaintiffs needed to prove that signing a petition is the same as signing a voting ballot and that the law passing would incur irreparable harm and also that the ADF in the end would likely win their case.

Yesterday Judge Michael Mosman presided over the case (also called a preliminary injunction). It was what the Portland Mercury called "a secret weapon" that convinced Mosman to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) from DP laws going in effect on the 2nd. The weapon was a case in Idaho where it was ruled signing a petition was the same as voting. Therefore Mosman decided that signatures on a petition were fundamental right and by putting a hold on January 2nd's domestic partnership laws he was preventing irreparable harm.

In reaction to how this case has turned out so far there has been a lot of support by others within the Oregon and or Queer community around this disappointment.

Kendall Clawson, the executive director of the Q Center said "Unfortunately, our fight for domestic partnership may not be over, yet I truly believe that those that opposed this amendment have underestimated the strength of our community and the power of love and respect for others that drives us. As the sun comes up and we begin planning our next steps, I have decided that I will not give away another minute of sleep pondering the negative aspects of this situation. Conversely, I will work to acknowledge, appreciate and derive strength from all of the people that tirelessly work to bring us together as a community rather than tear us apart."

Crallspace wrote an open letter to the Alliance Defence Fund and asks "Why take the beacon that many look to for inspiration, hope and goodwill and shine its dark side? With all the problems that face our world today, homosexuals are your scapegoat; you have a heyday on folks that may have been the subject of the verse, "As you have done it to these the least of my brethren, you have done it unto Me." (Matt 25:40) As much as you think Christianity is persecuted and outlawed for obnoxious reasons, how do you think homosexuals feel about your work?"

Multnomah County Commissioner Jeff Cogen noted for us all that "Daily, we are reminded that the quest for equality continues and it is up to us to push forward principles of acceptance, fairness and justice. I hope this issue is resolved soon and we can get to the business of equality - for all."

Jack Bogdanski at Jack Bog's blog made a great point that "...once again, the electoral process in this country is showing itself to be badly, badly deficient. Not only can't we count votes securely and honestly -- we can't even agree on how to check the signatures on the petitions by which we decide what we'll be voting on. Nearly every election -- even every potential election -- turns out to be a lawsuit. It's a disgrace."

For more information on all this go here and here for information from Basic Rights Oregon.

There will be a vigil at the Q Center from 5:30pm to 7pm On January 2nd. The address is 69 SE Taylor Ave at SE Water Ave.
Though personally I'd like to see folks taking this to the streets I know many feel safer in a queer space among other queers & allies. I guess I just don't want it to seem like Oregon LGBTQ2S folks are rolling over and taking this. But I'll be at the vigil all the same, with my beloved.

Stay tuned to Just Out's Blog for updates on this heartbreaking situation.
I wish for all of us who planned on participating in legal domestic partnership on Wednesday a peaceful night & happy, hopeful, loving New Year!

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