April 19, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contacts: Rose King, firstname.lastname@example.org, 503.863.1363;
Blair Stenvick, email@example.com, 503.756.5828
Leading advocates in Oregon announce a historic ballot measure campaign to affirm equal rights and personal freedoms for all Oregonians
Equal Rights for All campaign will protect Oregonians’ rights to make personal decisions about our lives, access the healthcare we need, and marry who we love without political interference or government discrimination—regardless of sex, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation
SALEM, Ore. — Today, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon, Basic Rights Oregon, and ACLU of Oregon announced a campaign launch for the Equal Rights for All constitutional amendment. The ballot measure campaign aims to affirm and protect equal rights in Oregon by making sure that the current equality language in our Constitution explicitly covers gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and the right to make our own decisions about our reproductive health and gender-related health care, including abortion and gender-affirming care, and marriage.
The proposed constitutional amendment, Senate Joint Resolution 33, was introduced Wednesday in the Oregon Senate. Chief sponsors include: Senator Lieber, Senator Wagner, and Senator Frederick along with an additional 19 sponsors in the Oregon Legislature. Oregon lawmakers will decide before the end of the 2023 legislative session whether to refer the amendment to Oregon voters. If passed, Oregonians will be given the opportunity to vote on the measure in the November 2024 general election.
With the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year in the Dobbs decision to overturn long-held constitutional protections, assaults on fundamental rights and freedoms have intensified — including people’s ability to access essential healthcare and marry who they love. Pointing to extremists’ attempts to insert themselves into some of the most personal decisions people can make, advocates stated that the proposed ballot measure is a critical step to protect Oregonians from coordinated attacks happening in the state and nationwide.
The proposed ballot measure will update the Oregon Constitution and make clear that:
- Every Oregonian has the freedom to make personal healthcare decisions and the right to access essential healthcare including contraceptives and abortion;
- Every Oregonian has the right to marry who they love, removing Oregon’s ban on samegender marriage that was inserted into our constitution nearly two decades ago; and
- Every Oregonian, regardless of sex, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation, is afforded the same protections to live a life free of government actions that discriminate — from housing and employment to public accommodation to state services.
In addition to Senate Joint Resolution 33, Oregon lawmakers are also considering House Bill 2002, the Reproductive Health & Access to Care bill. The legislation provides urgent legal protections for providers and patients who provide and seek reproductive health and genderaffirming care in Oregon; and builds on efforts to expand access to care for those experiencing barriers, including BIPOC Oregonians, LGBTQ2SIA+ people, folks living outside the I-5 corridor, low-income Oregonians, and immigrants. Oregon House Bill 2002 was voted out of the joint Ways & Means Committee on April 13th and is currently awaiting a vote on the House floor.
Proponents of the Equal Rights for All campaign issued the following statements:
Sandy Chung, executive director at the ACLU of Oregon said:
“With the majority of Oregonians, the ACLU of Oregon believes that we should have the fundamental rights and freedoms to control our bodies, lives, and futures – regardless of our sex, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation – without undue political interference and discriminatory actions by the government. Across our country, the ACLU has fought back severe and incessant assaults on our rights and freedoms, and we will fight for these constitutional safeguards that will protect us, the people we love, and our communities from further attacks. This ballot measure is an opportunity for Oregonians to speak our values into action through our state constitution. Oregonians deserve to be heard.”
Jennifer Williamson, Interim Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon said:
“We’re committed to do whatever it takes to stop the coordinated attacks on our fundamental right to marry who we love and access a full range of health care including contraception, abortion, and gender-affirming care. We refuse to take our freedoms for granted. We’re here to fight back.”
Todd Addams, Interim Executive Director of Basic Rights Oregon said:
“Throughout the country and at the federal level, LGBTQ2SIA+ folks are watching our rights get rolled back in real time. Oregon has an opportunity to reverse that tide and secure those rights. Marriage equality, freedom from discrimination at work and at home, and our right to make our own healthcare decisions with our doctors are all on the line. At Basic Rights Oregon, we hear every day from community members fearful about their futures. They see anti-trans and antiqueer legislation being passed in other states, and worry the same thing could happen in Oregon. That’s why we’re working to secure our rights in a Constitutional Amendment.”