Sunday, April 09, 2006

Our disgraceful discrimination. And why it must end.

When Oregon shamefully placed discrimination in its Constitution via Measure 36 in 2004, we classified gays and lesbians as second class citizens, unworthy of the same marital rights as heterosexuals. Its a disgraceful period in our state's history that I hope one day will be rectified.

This inability to marry has placed gay and lesbian Oregonians into the precarious position of having to adopt their own children, in order to have legal custody. Specifically, Jeana Frazzini and her partner K.D. Parman were kept from having both parents names listed on their son Elliot's birth certificate by the State of Oregon.

As reported at Basic Rights Oregon,Parman has filed a lawsuit against the State, citing two Oregon laws giving automatic parental rights to married couples.

In Oregon, a child is automatically under the legal custody of the husband and the wife following its birth. In addition, children born as the result of artificial insemination are also under the legal custody of the married husband and wife. In both cases this carries over even if the husband isn't the biological father.

By denying gays and lesbians the ability to marry, the State is discriminating against these families by forcing one of the partners to go through the time and expense of legally adopting their child.

Basic Rights Oregon also explains the legal precedent:

The primary legal arguments behind this case and other planned litigation are based on the 1998 Tanner decision, which said that the State of Oregon is constitutionally prohibited from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation as it relates to state benefits, services, privileges and immunities. While it is commonplace for state governments to adjust existing policy and administrative rules to comply with new case law, Oregon did not take this step related to the Tanner decision. As a result, gay and lesbian Oregonians continue to face discrimination in areas including retirement benefits, parental rights and family protections, workers compensation and more.

The State of Oregon is conducting legalized bigotry and discrimination.

Imagine planning for the birth of your beautiful child. Anticipating its arrival by decorating the nursery and picking out names, shopping for baby clothes and accessories. And then you find out that your partner with whom you planned to share parenting responsibilities and duties with can't legally be on the birth certificate. They can't be the other legal parent/guardian. All this while watching other happy couples give birth with no such legal restrictions.

This is a sad and unfortunate time in our State.