A Tale of Two States

Today marks the third day that New Hampshire LGBTQ residents are
able to enter into civil unions. The state became the
fourth state to legalize civil unions
in June and the law went
into effect on the first of the year.

Civil unions grant LGBTQ couples the same rights and allowances
given to straight couples and the New Hampshire statute stipulates
that any civil union or marriage performed in another state will be
legally recognized in New Hampshire.

On the other side of the country, LGBTQ Oregonians are suffering a
different fate. After passing a landmark domestic partnership law
in May of 2007 that “affords same-sex couples all the rights and
responsibilities that are granted under state law through a
marriage contract”,
Judge Michael Mosman issued a stay
last week to keep the law
from going into effect.

A group opposed to domestic partnerships had initiated a petition
earlier in the year aimed at forcing a statewide referendum on the
civil union law. Their effort failied and no objections were made
at the time about the petition process and the law continued
forward. Months later, in December, a hearing was held to determine
the fairness of the signature validation process.

Mosman’s ruling to halt the domestic partnerships was based on
the notion that the people whose anti-DP petition signatures were
deemed invalid were denied their “fundamental right” to have
their dissent heard, similar to not having their votes counted.

Instead, Judge Mosman has chosen to keep LGBTQ people and their
families in limbo, without the legal protections that their
legislature and governor granted them. Without the respect given to
their straight counterparts.

As I read through website of Basic Rights Oregon, the
statewide LGBTQ equality organization based in Portland, I realized
that a couple could theoretically be simultaneously married in
Canada and Massachusetts, civil unioned in Vermont, Connecticut,
New Jersey and New Hampshire, and have a domestic partnership in
several states and cities, and STILL not have their relationship
recognized as valid or legal by our federal government or by the
governments of most states and towns.

Talk about being denied your fundamental rights.