Oregon governor Ted Kulongoski urged state legislators Monday to pass a bill outlawing discrimination against gays. The Democratic governor, in his State of the State address to a joint session of the legislature as it began its 2005 session, said he is submitting a bill that would forbid discrimination against gays in employment, housing, and public accommodations.
Kulongoski long has supported such measures, which have been considered in the past but had never gained legislative approval. He emphasized the issue Monday as necessarily linked to efforts to the challenge of improving the state's economy. "We also face a great moral challenge: to make sure that opportunity is an open door through which every citizen can pass--not a revolving door that turns
for some and doesn't budge for others," Kulongoski said in remarks prepared for delivery.
"This is a moral challenge because if we do not defend social justice, tolerance, and diversity, then the progress we make on the economic front will be bought with compromised principles and a weakened human spirit," Kulongoski said. "That is not a trade-off I can accept."
The legislature is expected to consider creating civil unions, which Kulongoski also supports, to give gay couples many of the rights of married people.