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Oregon campaign
highlights straight support for LGBT rights

Oregon campaign
highlights straight support for LGBT rights

The Basic Rights Education Fund, a division of Basic Rights Oregon, has announced the launch of a statewide campaign to raise awareness of straight support for LGBT rights, according to a press release distributed Thursday. Titled "50 Voices for Equality," the campaign features 50 heterosexual Oregonians who support new state laws that address discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

"The '50 Voices for Equality' represent the broad cross-section of Oregonians who believe that every Oregon family should be able to realize their hopes and dreams, keep loved ones safe and secure, and live and work free from the sting of discrimination," said John Hummel, executive director of Basic Rights Oregon, in the press release. "The goal of this campaign is to help Oregonians understand that fairness affects us all. That's why it is critical we stand together and speak out."

Participants in the campaign hail from a variety of backgrounds, including businesspeople, faith leaders, elected officials, community activists, and public safety officers. These voices come from across the state as well, representing a range of geographic diversity.

Rabbi Maurice Harris of Eugene explains of his participation in the press release, "The world around us is in such an uncertain, unstable state and there is a huge amount of social anxiety. In times like these people hang on tightly to what they find comfortable and familiar." He continues, "I wish I could find the right words to help the people in our society who feel frightened by equality to stop feeling frightened and see that they have nothing to worry about. If we can find a way to speak gently to those fears, maybe we can find a way to change their minds."

Keith and Antoinette Edwards were inspired to join the campaign by their gay son. "Our son is treated differently by two birthrights of which he had no choosing, being black and being gay. Above all, equality reminds us of our common humanity," says Antoinette in the press release. Adds Keith: "It means to be respected and treated as an equal--and to treat people with that same respect." (The Advocate)

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