Merkley, Wyden join Portland Pride events

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Both of Oregon’s United States senators were in Portland Saturday to take part in the Pride Festival, and while they recognized the great strides made for LGBTQ+ rights, they admit there is still much to do.

At a Saturday press conference with Pride leaders, Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden each spoke about what’s been gained in recent times.

“We have the end of bigoted policies like ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We have marriage equality,” Merkley said. “But we have a long way to go.”

Wyden noted this was the first Pride parade in 2 years because of the pandemic. “In addition to Pride winning out, we must make sure we cross the finish line on the road to full equality in Oregon and this country,” he said.

Merkley is the lead sponsor of The Equality Act, which would ban discrimination against LGBTQ+ Americans. It would add sexual orientation and gender identity to long-standing discrimination bans in employment, housing and more.

The US House passed the Equality Act in February 2021, but it stalled in the Senate.