WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley issued the following statement after President Obama’s final State of the Union speech:

“Tonight President Obama reminded us of what we can and should be: a country of political and economic opportunity for all.

“I share the President’s vision for growing our middle class, and protecting our planet. The American dream is built on expanding opportunity for the next generation. This means guaranteeing all students access to higher education without crushing debt, innovating with new savings opportunities to create a more secure retirement future for all working Americans, and building a political and financial system that responds to the needs of the many rather than the few.

“America must also continue to display global leadership in taking on the climate change challenge.  It’s critical not only to protect our planet for generations to come, but to create jobs and economic growth as a worldwide leader in renewable energy.

“I was honored to have Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court case that extended marriage equality to all 50 states, as my guest at the State of the Union tonight. As the President said, this ruling on marriage equality embodies our great, unique strengths as a nation, and it was a tremendous moment of progress.

“But the fight for full equality for the LGBT community is not complete. Last year, I introduced the Equality Act because it’s incomprehensibly wrong that in many states a couple can marry in the morning and be evicted from their apartment or kicked out of a restaurant in the afternoon. The time has come to right that wrong. Congress must act and pass the Equality Act to ensure that all LGBT Americans have full rights in every aspect of their lives, and to make our democracy better for all.

“I look forward to working with the President and my colleagues on these critical issues and moving our country forward.”

Audio of the Senator’s statement can be found here.