First, today is a great victory for Oregon gay rights. Governor Kulongoski signed domestic partnerships and discrimination protection into law. The seven-month wait for the laws to take effect sucks. And I'm a little concerned about the religious organization exemption concession that was made at the last minute. Regardless, this is great progress today and gay rights activists should be proud.
Okay, here is the "BUT": (it doesn't take much to for these victories to be overturned by voters.). According to a conservative Christian news website, anti-gay groups are quietly contemplating their response to the laws and seriously considering the initiative option to stop the them:
"Under Oregon law, once the governor signs a new law, citizens have a 90-day window to collect signatures for a possible statewide vote to overturn it.. A total of 55,179 signatures would be required to place such a measure on the ballot of the next general election, in November 2008."
In response to the 2004 Multnomah County gay marriage stunt, anti-groups managed to collect 244 thousand signatures in a mere 41 days (according to their website). So these gay rights laws are far from certain and I'm sure Republicans would love to have another gay issue on the 2008 ballot.
But for today, I'm happy and cautiously optimistic about Oregonians' sense of fairness.
At least these victories demonstrate the importance of voting and validate my nerdy analysis of the ballots.