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

Oregon Schools Must Protect Transgender Students

UPDATE: January 20, 2015 - We sent a letter outlining the rights of transgender students to the Dallas School Board ahead of a special meeting held last night. The letter read, in part:

"The refusal to allow transgender students to use the same facilities used by other students in accordance with their gender identity violates Title IX and impairs students’ ability to learn, grow, and thrive in the school environment. Research shows that denying transgender people access to facilities that correspond to the gender they live every day holds serious consequences for them, negatively impacting their education, employment, health, and participation in public life. Conversely, full acceptance of a student’s gender identity—including allowing them access to gender-appropriate facilities —goes a long way toward providing a welcoming environment and a positive educational experience. Moreover, disclosure of a student’s gender identity, without their permission, is against the law and can have serious, long-term negative repercussions. It is critical for schools to respect the privacy of transgender students, even if the school is operating with no ill intent."

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National Organization for Marriage Appeal for Intervention Dismissed!

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismisses the National Organization for Marriage’s ("NOM") appeal for intervention in Geiger vs. Kitzhaber and Rummell vs. Kitzhaber

August 27, 2014 - On May 19, Judge Michael McShane struck down Oregon’s laws excluding same-sex couples from marriage. NOM had sought to intervene in that case, which Judge McShane denied. NOM then tried to appeal that decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Today’s decision dismissing NOM’s appeal confirms that NOM has no standing to participate in the case.

“In the past year there have been more than 30 court rulings overturning state bans on marriage between same-sex couples,” said David Fidanque, Executive Director of the ACLU of Oregon. “The legal consensus is clear that these bans are unconstitutional. Marriage is a fundamental freedom, and freedom means freedom for everyone.”

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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

Attorney General Rosenblum: Do Not Waive Catholic Hospitals' Merger Review

Catholic Ethical & Religious Directives Restrict Reproductive, End-of-Life Care

January 14, 2016 - The ACLU of Oregon and 12 other public interest organizations sent Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum a letter urging her to reject a request for a waiver from the standard process for reviewing merger transactions by the nation’s 6th largest nonprofit hospital system, Providence Health & Services, and St. Joseph Health.

“This proposed transaction involves eight hospitals across Oregon, and a total of almost 50 hospitals across six states [Alaska, California, Montana, Oregon, Texas, Washington],” the groups said in the letter sent to AG’s office on Jan. 8. “Even absent the transfer of assets, significant changes in health care delivery are likely to occur…it behooves the Attorney General to undertake the full review process to ensure that this transaction preserves existing health care services and benefits the public interest.”

St. Joseph and Providence are both Catholic health systems. Catholic hospitals must typically follow the Ethical and Religious Directives (ERDs) promulgated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The ERDs many forbid reproductive health services, including all birth control methods, sterilization, miscarriage management, abortion, the least invasive treatments for ectopic pregnancies, and some infertility treatments. The ERDs provide no exceptions for risks to a patient’s health or even life.

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Groups Are Concerned Walgreens’s Collaboration with Catholic Health Provider Will Limit Consumer Access to Important Medical Services

December 14, 2015 - Nineteen public interest organizations that advocate for patients’ rights and comprehensive health care access are concerned about the impact on health care consumers of a collaboration between the nation’s largest drug store chain, Walgreens, and a Catholic health care provider, Providence Health & Services, to open up to 25 in-store health clinics in Washington State and Oregon.

In a letter emailed to Walgreens today, the 19 organizations sought to learn whether religious doctrine will limit access to important medical services, information, and referrals at the clinics operated by Providence Health & Services and its affiliate, Swedish Health Services, and will limit Walgreens’s pharmacies’ ability to fill prescriptions.

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