Last May, the Oregon legislature approved two enormous civil rights bills for gay folk, the first being a broad anti-discrimination bill in employment, and secondly, a "civil parternships" bill which grants gay couples every single legal benefit of marriage in Oregon, just without actually calling it marriage. Only Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, California, New Jersey, Maine, Washington, and Hawaii have civil partnerships benefits to gay couples, but none go as far as Oregon's, except obviously, Massachussetts, since they allow outright marriage. This was an especially bold move for the Oregon legislature, since voters in that state voted to constitutionally ban gay marriage there as recently as 2004. One wishes every liberal-leaning politician could be so brave (or honest).
Both bills in Oregon are due to kick in starting in January of 2008, but not without a fair amount of protest. Former senator Marilyn Shannon, leader of the hate group Defense of Marriage and Family Again (one assumes the "again" to reference their activism when gay marriage was on the ballot in 2004), has spent the last 5 months desperately trying to get enough signatures on a ballot to present to the legislature to force both gay-rights laws into a public vote and override the legislative decision. All that was needed was 55,179 signatures, and in a state with a population of almost 4 million, guess what? They couldn't get enough people to sign it. Being only 116 signatures short, one wonders how hard it could possibly be to get just 116 more. Either they didn't try hard enough (which I sincerely doubt), or the interest among the general population in continuing to waste time spreading hatred and discrimination just isn't there.
What a differenc 3 years, a war, and a completely corrupt and perverted "family values" Republican party can make, huh?