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, while here in Oregon the state ban on marriage for same-sex couples was struck down, couples in many other states still are denied the freedom to marry.

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

Supreme Court Allows Oregon Marriages to Continue

June 4, 2014 - In a victory for marriage equality, the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to halt new marriages between same-sex couples in Oregon. The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) sought a stay after the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals denied a similar request two weeks ago. Both the ACLU and the state of Oregon filed briefs opposing NOM’s request.

“With marriages continuing in Oregon, we have 44 percent of the country living in a freedom-to-marry state, and it’s just a reality that same-sex couples are part of marriage in America today,” said James Esseks, director of the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. “Across the country, more and more Americans are embracing the truth that their friends, family, and neighbors in same-sex couples deserve the protection and dignity that only come with marriage.”

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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

Discrimination Has No Place in Oregon

May 9, 2014 - The ACLU of Oregon is elated the Oregon Family Council has decided not to go forward with its plans to put a discrimination measure on the ballot in November. There is no place for discrimination in Oregon.

Yesterday, the Oregon Supreme Court released the ballot title for Initiative Petition 52 saying it would not order any changes be made to the ballot title certified by the Attorney General. We had urged the Court to improve on part of the ballot title but overall we were pleased that the certified ballot title made the harmful effects of the proposal clear to voters.

The initiative was designed to allow individuals and businesses to use their religion to discriminate against same-sex couples in a wide array of services related to celebrating or recognizing a gay or lesbian couple's marriage or relationship. It is wrong to treat people differently because of who they are and who they love.

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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

Obtaining a Marriage License in Oregon by County

STATEWIDE REQUIREMENTS:

  • All licenses are subject to a three-day waiting period before a ceremony may take place. Licenses are valid for 60 days after the waiting period. If you fail to perform the ceremony within 60 days, you must apply for a new license.
  • Both parties must identify on their application the legal names that they will be taking after the marriage. 
  • Medical examinations and blood tests are no longer required by the State of Oregon in order to obtain a marriage license. 
  • In general, both parties should plan to appear in-person and present a valid government-issued ID. 
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FAQ: Getting Married in Oregon

Where can I get a marriage license?
Marriage licenses are issued by Oregon’s counties - click here for a list of Oregon’s county marriage license offices. You must appear in person to get a marriage license. Both parties must be present. You can fill out the application online in advance through many county clerk’s websites (note: when marriage becomes legal for same-sex couples in Oregon, the online application will be updated to allow same-sex couples to apply).

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