Though a bill to establish same-sex civil unions in Oregon is headed for likely passage in the state Senate today, opponents of the measure are confident it will die a quick death in the House of Representatives.
SB 1000 would give same-sex couples benefits similar to those of marriage. The bill also includes language outlawing discrimination against homosexuals in jobs, housing and public accommodation.
The Oregon Senate consists of 18 Democrats and 12 Republicans. Two Republicans who co-sponsored the bill likely will vote in favor and potentially all the Democrats. The bill passed the Senate Rules Committee June 23.
Said Senate Majority Leader Kate Brown: “The Oregon Senate will be making a very important statement about prohibiting discrimination in this state and providing all of Oregon’s families with stability and security.”
If the bill becomes law, Oregon would be the third state to establish civil unions. Vermont has civil unions and Connecticut will begin offering them in October. Massachusetts is the only state that allows same-sex couples to marry.
Pro-family advocates are confident, however, the civil-unions bill will be dead on arrival in the House of Representatives, which is controlled by the Republicans.
“It will never be heard of again,” Cheri Adkins, an aide to Republican Sen. Jason Atkinson, told WND. Atkinson voted against the bill in committee and planned to do the same on the Senate floor.
Even the homosexual website 365gay.com reported the bill’s chances in the House are “slim and none.”
GOP House Speaker Karen Minnis has said the civil-unions section of the bill violates the state’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
Republicans charge Democrats with using the bill as a tool to curry favor with the homosexual community, all the while knowing the measure wouldn’t see the light of day in the House of Representatives.
“This bill is just for show,” Adkins said.
Oregon Family Council has been active in opposing SB 1000.
“The bill is pretty flawed in that it literally changes or amends every marriage law in the state,” Mike White, executive director of the organization, told WND. “In some cases it actually removes terms like ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ and replaces them with ‘spouse.’”
White noted last fall Oregon voters approved by a 58-42 percent margin a ballot initiative defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
“Another concern is the bill gives minority-status protection to sexual behavior,” White said. “That’s disturbing to us.”
White contends homosexuals in Oregon are not discriminated against, saying the bill’s proponents couldn’t cite one specific example during committee hearings.
The activist agreed the legislation amounts to a “political favor” because proponents know it has virtually no chance of becoming law.
Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski supports the bill and has said he would sign it if it reached his desk.