Sadly, a federal judge [an appointee of Chimperator Bush, I might add] has placed an injunction on the new Oregon law granting civil union rights to unmarried couples that was to be effective January 1, 2008. The judge's ruling comes out of a federal court case where opponents to gay rights - namely the Defense of Marriage Coalition, founded by one of Daddy Dobson's state affiliates in Oregon - are challenging a finding that they did not have sufficient signatures on a petition to put the issue to a state wide referendum. These Christianist will go to nearly any lengths to deprive gays of legal rights. With all the problems in the world today, it strikes me as sick and twisted to spend so much time, money and energy just to keep some individuals second class citizens under the civil laws. These individuals truly must have empty, shallow lives if this is how they spend their time and resources. Here are highlights from the Oregonian's story (http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1198902321260710.xml&coll=7):
A federal judge Friday blocked Oregon's domestic partnership law for gays and lesbians from taking effect next week, saying opponents should have a chance to make their case for a statewide election on civil unions. The surprise ruling comes four days before gay couples would be eligible for most of the same legal benefits of marriage. Couples across Oregon had planned to show up at county offices Wednesday to register as partners.
Mosman set a Feb. 1 hearing to hear a lawsuit by gay-rights opponents challenging the state's methods for verifying voter signatures. Opponents gathered signatures last summer to try to overturn civil unions on the November 2008 ballot but were rejected by state officials. Elections officials determined that they fell 96 signatures short of the 55,179 needed for a referendum on a law passed by the Legislature. Mosman said attorneys for opponents showed that the rights of voters may have been violated if their signatures were wrongly rejected.
The lawsuit was filed Dec. 3, asking the court to require the state to review the signatures, reinstate signatures found to be improperly excluded and certify the referendum. In court Friday, opponents argued that people whose signatures on referendum and initiative petitions are thrown out should be allowed to challenge the decision, as they can in elections. Attorneys for the state said that procedures verifying signatures are applied equally to everyone. The state uses a random statistical sampling method to determine whether enough valid signatures are collected.