Federal Court Hearing Today in ACLU Challenge of Oregon Marriage Ban

April 23, 2014 - EUGENE  During oral arguments today in Oregon’s marriage equality lawsuit, attorneys representing loving and committed same-sex couples are expected to argue that marriage strengthens families and is what is best for Oregon.

"We stand today with our friends and allies in Oregon in the fight for the freedom to marry," said Amanda Goad, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. "We trust that the court will do the right thing and allow Oregon to join the ever-growing number of states across the country by granting the same protections and dignity to these families as anyone else."


Marriage Matters to Us

By Chris Tanner, Plaintiff

Ten years ago in March, Lisa and I were first in line when Multnomah County issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples. We married immediately in our church, with our ministers, blessed with the presence of friends.

Ten years ago in November, voters approved Measure 36, an amendment to our state constitution denying the freedom to marry to Oregon's same-sex couples. Shortly thereafter, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled our marriage invalid.

Lisa and I took down the framed marriage license from our wall. 

Much has changed over the last decade. A majority of Americans now support the freedom to marry, including 55% of Oregon voters. In 17 states and D.C., all loving couples can marry and Oregon now recognizes those out of state marriages. But, I still cannot legally marry Lisa in the state we call home.


Sheriffs Suspend ICE Holds

April 17, 2014 - With their announcement that they intend to suspend the practice of honoring requests from federal immigration enforcement to hold individuals in their jail without probable cause, Sheriffs in Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington Counties acted today for the benefit of public safety in their communities. The ACLU applauds their action.

“We have long advocated that honoring warrantless ICE detainers is unlawful and also makes law enforcement’s job harder because it destroys trust in the community,” said David Fidanque, Executive Director. “We are thrilled that these Sheriffs are taking note of recent court decisions and abandoning a practice we believe violates state law and both the Oregon and United States Constitution.”

An “ICE detainer”—or “immigration hold”—has been a controversial tool use by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) routinely to apprehend individuals who come in contact with local and state law enforcement agencies. An ICE detainer is a written request that a local jail or other law enforcement agency detain an individual for an additional 48 hours after his or her release date, for the convenience of ICE agents so that they can decide whether to take the individual into federal custody and begin formal deportation proceedings. The detainers generally are not accompanied with a warrant based on probable cause.


Supreme Court Hears Oregon Protest Case

Michael Moss with NPR's Nina TotenbergMarch 26, 2014 - Washington D.C. - The Supreme Court heard oral argument today in Wood v. Moss, a case brought by us on behalf of a multi-generational group of peaceful protesters, who were forcibly moved on orders of the Secret Service to a place where their protests could no longer be seen or heard by President Bush. The protest took place during a visit to Jacksonville, Oregon in 2004. Demonstrators supporting the President were allowed to remain much closer to him.

The lawsuit claims that the protesters were targeted because of their political views in violation of their free speech rights.

“The Secret Service does not have immunity from the First Amendment,” said Steven M. Wilker, a lawyer with Tonkon Torp LLP in Portland, who argued the case as a cooperating attorney for the ACLU.


Legislature Passes on Chance to Advance Privacy Protections

March 12, 2014 - Completing the short session two days before the Constitutionally-imposed deadline, the Oregon Legislature passed up the opportunity to advance an important civil liberties bill on privacy and let squeak by a proposal that could have significant implications for patient access to medicine.

Automatic License Plate Reader Surveillance Technology (SB 1522)
SB 1522 was a priority bill for the ACLU this session because of the need for privacy guidelines around the use of surveillance technology by government. Ironically, there was widespread and bipartisan support for the privacy regulations but the bill did not move forward this session because legislators could not settle on the appropriate timeframe for law enforcement to hold on to innocent people’s captured plate data.


Liberty Dinner a Success!

Thank you to all who attended and supported our Liberty Dinner on March 1st. For those of you who missed it, see investigative reporter Glenn Greenwald's special appearance via video.

This embed will serve content from YouTube. ACLU of Oregon's privacy statement.