Oregon Extends Equal Treatment To All Sexual Orientations

Governor Kate Brown signed Executive Order 19-08, ensuring equal treatment under the law for Oregon’s LGBTQ+ community. The order makes updates to an executive order signed in 1987 — groundbreaking at the time — that barred state agencies from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.

“Progress matters, and recognition matters. The long-standing executive order needed to be updated to reflect current law and understandings about sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Governor Kate Brown. “There are more sexual orientations than just gay and lesbian. And there are more than two gender identities. Recognizing everyone is one step closer to a more inclusive and welcoming Oregon.”

The executive order will prohibit state agencies from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. While protections codified in statute ban discrimination in employment and business access, the executive order covers all activities of state government — everything from law enforcement, licensing, investigations, public services, distribution of funds and benefits, corrections, access to state facilities, and more.

“With this Executive Order, we’re affirming that when you enter the rotunda of the State Capitol—or any state building—the message is clear: you are welcome here,” said Nancy Haque, Executive Director of Basic Rights Oregon.

Specifically, the executive order:

  • Prohibits discrimination against LGBTQ+ people by state agencies in performing all functions of government, including employment decisions.
  • Directs state agencies to treat all persons consistent with their gender identity.
  • Directs state agencies to modify forms inquiring about gender to include, in addition to “Male” and “Female,” a third option designated as “Nonbinary/Other.”
  • Directs the Department of Administrative Services to adopt statewide policies to expand access to appropriate restrooms and to accommodate state employees and members of the public who are transgender, nonbinary, or gender non-conforming.

At a time when the United States Supreme Court is taking up three cases addressing LGBTQ employment discrimination that may turn back the clock on federal civil rights, this executive order will ensure protections are in place at the state level regardless of what happens at the federal level. Currently, 26 states lack legal protections against employment discrimination for LGBTQ+ people.

Source: Oregon Governor's Office

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