LGBT rights in Oregon

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LGBT rights in Oregon
Map of USA OR.svg
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 1972
(Legislative repeal)
Gender identity/expression Yes
Discrimination protections Yes, both sexual orientation and gender identity
Family rights
Recognition of
Same-sex marriages since 2014 and domestic partnerships since 2008.
Adoption Yes

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in the U.S. state of Oregon have the same rights and responsibilities as heterosexuals.

Law regarding same-sex sexual activity[edit]

Oregon decriminalized same-sex sexual activity in 1972.[1]

Recognition of same-sex marriage[edit]

Same-sex marriage was legalized in Oregon on May 19, 2014 after U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane ruled that the state's 2004 constitutional amendment banning such marriages were unconstitutional in relation to the Equal Protection Clause of the federal constitution.[2]

Prior to that ruling, same-sex marriage was prohibited by the state constitution due to the passage of a ballot measure on November 2, 2004.[3] Proponents had formed a campaign to place a same-sex marriage initiative on the ballot in November 2014,[4] but those plans were cancelled because of the May 2014 ruling legalizing marriage for same-sex couples in the state.

Domestic partnerships for same-sex couples have been available since February 4, 2008, when the Oregon Family Fairness Act took effect.[5]

Oregon has provided benefits to same-sex partners of state employees since 1998.[6]

Since October 16, 2013, based on an opinion from the Oregon Department of Justice, Oregon has recognized same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions.[7]

In July 2015, the Oregon Legislature passed and the Governor of Oregon signed a bill, to codify gender-neutral marriage in various Oregon statutes. Effective January 1, 2016.[8][9]

Adoption and parenting[edit]

Same-sex couples can jointly adopt or do step-parent adoption. Lesbian couples can also have access to IVF and assisted insemination. Male couples can also get access to surrogacy.

Discrimination protections[edit]

Since January 1, 2008, Oregon has banned discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on both sexual orientation and gender identity.[10] The protections were added by the Oregon Equality Act, signed into law by Governor Ted Kulongoski on May 9, 2007.[11]

Hate crime laws[edit]

State law covers hate crimes based on both gender identity and sexual orientation.[12]

Gender reassignment[edit]

In January 2013, as part of an out-of-court settlement in a discrimination suit with a public employee related to medical insurance coverage of a gender assignment surgical procedure, the state agreed to provide full medical insurance coverage for all such surgeries, drugs, and related treatments for individuals covered on public employee health plans.[13] As of 2014, gender reassignment surgery is not a requirement to change the gender marker on an Oregon birth certificate.[14]

In August 2014, state officials announced that Oregon Medicaid would shortly begin covering hormone therapy and other treatments related to gender reassignment.[15]

Conversion therapy[edit]

Oregon became the third state to ban performing sexual orientation change efforts (conversion therapy) on minors. On March 17, 2015, the Oregon House of Representatives passed the bill 41–18 and on May 7 the Oregon State Senate approved the bill 21–8. On May 18, 2015, Governor Kate Brown signed the bill into law.[16][17] The law went into effect on July 1, 2015.

Recognition of non-binary genders[edit]

See also: Genderqueer

On June 10, 2016, an Oregon circuit court ruled that a resident could legally change their gender to non-binary. The Transgender Law Center believes this to be "the first ruling of its kind in the U.S."[18]


Oregon's incumbent governor, Kate Brown, is the first openly bisexual governor in United States history. Oregon's House Speaker, Tina Kotek, is openly lesbian, married to her spouse Aimee Wilson. Michael McShane, the judge who struck down Oregon's same sex marriage ban, is openly gay.

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes (since 1972)
Equal age of consent Yes
Anti-discrimination laws in employment Yes (since 2001)
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services Yes (since 2007)
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) Yes (since 2007)
Same-sex marriages Yes (since 2014)
Recognition of same-sex couples Yes (since 2008)
Step-child adoption by same-sex couples Yes (since 2007)
Joint adoption by same-sex couples Yes (since 2007)
Sexual orientation conversion therapy banned on minors Yes (since 2015)
Right to change legal gender Yes
Non-binary recognized as a legal gender Yes

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Oregon Sodomy Law". Archived from the original on May 4, 2013. Retrieved August 26, 2015. 
  2. ^ Mapes, Jeff (May 19, 2014). "Oregon gay marriage ban struck down by federal judge; same-sex marriages to begin". The Oregonian. Retrieved May 19, 2014. 
  3. ^ Kershaw, Sarah (November 3, 2004). "Gay Marriage Bans Gain Wide Support in 10 States". New York Times. Retrieved December 11, 2012. 
  4. ^ McCarron, Steve (June 27, 2013). "Gay marriage supporters in Oregon focused on Nov. 2014 ballot". FOX12 Oregon. Retrieved July 1, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Oregon Registered Domestic Partners" (PDF). State of Oregon. Retrieved December 11, 2012. 
  6. ^ National Conference of State Legislatures: "States offering benefits for same-sex partners of state employees", accessed April 16, 2011
  7. ^ Damewood, Andrea (October 16, 2013). "Oregon To Recognize Marriages of Gay Couples Wed Out of State". Willamette Week. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 
  8. ^ HB 2478
  9. ^ House Bill 2478
  10. ^ "Oregon Non-Discrimination Law". Archived from the original on November 11, 2013. Retrieved August 26, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski Signs Basic Fairness Legislation: House Bill 2007 and Senate Bill 2". Salem News. May 9, 2007. 
  12. ^ "Oregon Hate Crimes Law". October 2, 2008. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved August 26, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Oregon state employee benefits now cover gender-reassignment surgery". The Oregonian. January 24, 2013. Retrieved July 1, 2013. 
  14. ^ Straus, Becky; Diaz, Kevin; Goad, Amanda (June 14, 2013). "Oregon Legislature Repeals Surgery Requirement for Gender Change on Birth Certificate". ACLU Blog of Rights. American Civil Liberties Union. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Oregon Medicaid to cover gender reassignment". Associated Press. August 15, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Bill to ban conversion therapy for LGBT youth sent to Kate Brown's desk". Oregon Live. May 7, 2015. 
  17. ^ HB2307, Oregon Legislature
  18. ^ O'Hara, Mary Emily (June 10, 2016). "'Nonbinary' is now a legal gender, Oregon court rules". The Daily Dot. 

Further reading[edit]