Oregon's new same-sex domestic-partnership law failed to
turn in enough valid signatures to block the measure,
clearing the way for it to take effect next year,
state elections officials said Monday.
Oregon will join
eight other states that have approved spousal rights in
some form for gay couples -- Connecticut, Vermont, New
Hampshire, New Jersey, Maine, California, Washington,
and Hawaii. Massachusetts is the only state that
allows gay couples to marry.
measure covers benefits related to inheritance rights,
child-rearing and custody, joint state tax filings, joint
health, auto and homeowners insurance policies,
visitation rights at hospitals, and others. It does
not affect federal benefits for married couples,
including Social Security and joint filing of federal tax
senator Marylin Shannon, a spokeswoman for the opponents'
petition drive, and other social conservatives believe the
domestic-partnership bill violates the intent of voters who
in 2004 approved a constitutional ban on same-sex
''This just flies
right in the face of that ban,'' the Republican former
backers said most Oregonians make a distinction between
same-sex marriage and domestic partnerships and that they
support providing protection under state law for
same-sex couples who are in committed relationships
currently not recognized by the state.
"They know that
committed couples should have the legal means to take
care of each other, especially in a crisis," said John
Hummel, executive director of Basic Rights Oregon.
conceded in recent days that they probably hadn't gotten
enough signatures. But they vowed to take another avenue to
try to derail the law along with another law that
would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation.
officials reported Monday that the effort fell short 116
valid signatures of the 55,179 needed to suspend the law and
place it on the November 2008 ballot for a popular
discouraged,'' Shannon said. ''We definitely will file
initiatives to repeal both of these laws.''
announcement was a major victory for supporters of the
two new laws that had been stymied for more than 30 years in
the legislature before being approved by the house and
senate in May of this year.
In 2004 about
3,000 same-sex couples were granted marriage licenses in
Multnomah County before the Oregon supreme court nullified
the licenses as unconstitutional the following year.
activists said that many of those couples plan to file for
domestic-partner status as soon as the new law takes effect
January 1. (Brad Cain, AP)