LGBT Rights

The ACLU has worked for equality and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people for over 75 years. We fight discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The struggle of LGBT people for full equality is one of this generation’s most important and galvanizing civil rights movements. Despite the many advances that have been made, LGBT people continue to face discrimination in many areas of life. No federal law prevents a person from being fired or refused a job on the basis of sexual orientation. Mothers and fathers still lose child custody simply ecause they are gay or lesbian. Here in Oregon, we have faced more anti-gay ballot measures than any other state – and we fought against every single one of them. When we couldn’t defeat them at the ballot box, we brought legal challenges in court. And gay people still are denied the freedom to marry in Oregon and most other states.

We fought to ensure the equal protection provision of the Oregon Constitution, Article I, section 20, protected all Oregonians - including LGBT people. We continue to work to provide protection for family relationships, including fighting for the freedom to marry in Oregon; to advocate for LGBT youth and youth groups to organize and speak out; to oppose laws that criminalize sexual intimacy; to support laws that prohibit discrimination; and to preserve the right to free expression and association for LGBT people.

Litigation

State Marriage Brief: Oregon Marriage Ban Has No Rational Basis

Out for Freedom

March 19, 2014 – In its response to the ACLU’s constitutional challenge of Oregon’s ban on marriage by same-sex couples, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum declared that the marriage ban “serves no rational basis and harms Oregon citizens.”

“It means a lot to our family that the State’s Attorney General and Governor have recognized the direct harm the marriage ban creates for families like ours,” said Paul Rummell, one of the ACLU clients in the case. “Denying us the right to be married, because of who we are and who we love, doesn’t just hurt us, but also denies our son the legal recognition and protections that all children should have under our Constitution.”

The State’s brief also notified the court that if the judge agrees that the ban violates the 5th and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, the state “is prepared to implement that ruling.” Some court observers predict that marriages of same-sex couples could begin in Oregon by late spring or early summer (see Oregonian article).

ACLU of Oregon executive director David Fidanque said that while there still is one more set of briefs to be filed in the case, the legal issues have already been laid out clearly for the court to decide.

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Lewis et al. v. Forest Grove High School

High School Allows Students to Form Gay-Straight Alliance

July 13, 2009 - The ACLU represented Jessica Lewis and a number of her fellow students at Forest Grove High School, where they applied to form a Gay-Straight Alliance.

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Legislation

EQUAL PROTECTION: Repeal Surgery Requirement for Gender Change on Birth Certificate (HB 2093) (2013)

After the passage of HB 2093 and taking effect January 1, 2014, transgender people in Oregon will no longer have to show proof of surgery in order to change their birth certificates to accurately reflect their gender.

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Other

Bringing the Freedom to Marry in Oregon

The ACLU is fighting for the freedom to marry nationwide - in the courts and at the ballot box.

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Signature Gathering to Win the Freedom to Marry in Oregon Begins

July 25, 2013 - Tomorrow, Oregon United for Marriage is launching the campaign to collect 116,284 valid signatures from Oregonian voters to put the Freedom to Marry and Religious Protection Initiat

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