Can you hear the bells ringing? No, it's not the sound of wedding bells (yet). It's the sound of socially regressive voters getting their wings! According to polls, bigotry is aging out of the US population (in other words, the people who are causing the most problems aren't getting any younger). That means that within 30 to 40 years, issues like gay marriage will be one big fat yawn.
But Basic Rights Oregon (BRO) is not content to wait another generation before lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Oregonians are guaranteed the same basic rights as other citizens. We believe now would be a good time to ensure that every Oregonian is safe and secure in our schools and communities. We believe now is an excellent time for all of us to be free to earn a living, and able to care for the ones we love. After 20 years of ballot measures designed to divide our state in two, we believe the time to BRING IT for equality is now.
That's why BRO championed two critical pieces of legislation in 2007. The Oregon Equality Act made it against the law in Oregon to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, employment, and public accommodations like restaurants. And the Oregon Family Fairness Act created domestic partnerships, so caring, committed couples can have the legal recognition they need to take care of each other. Together, these laws made Oregon an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.
BRO is working hard to BRING IT...
...because we have to keep what we worked so hard to get.
Out-of-state anti-gay interests are hoping to put measures on the ballot to repeal Oregon's domestic partnership and anti-discrimination laws. BRO is ready to defend our laws with field teams in place across the state, but we'll need your help to get the word out. Sign up at basicrights.org to stay in the loop.
...because there is life outside of Portland!
Along with state political action, BRO has begun to bridge the urban-rural divide. If we want to make lasting change, we have to be prepared to mobilize the LGBT community and allies from Baker City to Astoria. That's why our 2008 public education program is taking the message of equality to rural Oregonians.
...because youth are the future... no, really.
On college campuses around the state, BRO works closely with student organizations to prepare our future leaders. College is a time when most of us barely manage to bathe on a regular basis, let alone assume leadership of a political movement. But BRO identifies college/university students who are up to the challenge, trains them in public speaking and community organizing, and puts them at the forefront of the movement.
...because white is not the only color in the rainbow.
Thanks to the persistent efforts of community members who refuse to let things slide, BRO is committed to raising awareness of racial justice among staff and board members, the larger LGBT community, and our allies. As part of this work, BRO develops and presents trainings on dismantling racism and immigrant rights, sponsors gatherings by and for queer youth of color, and supports networking opportunities for activists fighting for racial justice. By listening and learning, teaching and doing, BRO hopes to become a better ally and foster an atmosphere of greater inclusiveness and participation from all communities.
...because there is no "Equality" without the "T."
BRO is committed to ensuring that the voices, experiences, and concerns of transgender Oregonians are represented in our struggle for equality. We don't believe in sacrificing any letter in the alphabet soup just so the rest of us can have a seat at the table. That's why Oregon's nondiscrimination law ensures that no one can be fired from their job, evicted from their home, or denied a table at a restaurant just because they're transgender. Want to learn more? Look for our workshop "T Is Not for Tokenism" this summer.
...because we are stronger together.
In 2004, our friends in the organized labor, choice, and immigrant rights movements stood side by side with us as we fought against Measure 36, the devastating constitutional amendment that excludes gays and lesbians from marriage in Oregon. In 2007, those same allies worked hard to help us pass our domestic partnership and anti-discrimination laws, and they will be there this year to defend our equality laws from attacks on multiple fronts. We know we are strongest when we work together toward a common progressive goal, and BRO is proud to join our allies this November in defeating anti-immigrant and massive prison spending ballot measures.
Basic Rights Oregon is proud to BRING IT for Oregon's LGBT community every day. Will you join us and make our movement for equality even stronger? Visit us online at basicrights.org.