Yesterday I was privileged to attend the Basic Rights Education Fund’s 15th Annual Oregonians Against Discrimination Business Leaders Luncheon held at the Oregon Convention Center. The event recognized the truly heroic efforts of local businesses, professional associations and elected representatives to support two historic pieces of legislation last year, a comprehensive non-discrimination bill and the establishment of a statewide domestic partnership law for same-sex couples.
Of course, I am hardly a "business leader," but I work for a supremely influential local company and leaped at the opportunity to attend this networking extravaganza. (Note to self: next year do not bum a ride off of a lesbian, no matter how fabulous she is, who has a meeting immediately following the lunch and has to return to work. Take the afternoon off and stay. Wear tight pants.)
You couldn't swing a feather boa in that room without hitting a politician, including the two top-tier candidates in the mayoral race (businessman Sho Dozono and Sam Adams -- not the Founding Father, the hot gay City Commissioner who was actually sued by the owners of Sam Adams beer for trademark infringement), Oregon Speaker of the House Jeff Merkley (poised to unseat incumbent Republican senator Gordon Smith, if he wins the hotly contested Democratic primary), former Governor Barbara Roberts and current Governor Ted Kulongoski.
Given how many states have governors who wouldn't touch a gay rights event with a 10-foot cross wrapped in a flag, it was rather nice to have two show up.
Did I mention that I work for a supremely influential company? Yeah, so, our table was down front and just off-center. Two of the award recipients were current or former employees at my firm. And then, well, I guess I just hadn't been paying very much attention (bad networker!), but when Gov. Kulongoski was introduced, I was a little surprised to see that the man sitting right next to me at the next table over stood up and took the podium. Eek.
I wish I'd been able to stay afterward and schmooze. Hotties in suits. Drool.
* Shout-out to intrepid JustOut reporter (and friend) SMB, who also attended.
** Updating my post from yesterday: thankfully no one remembered National Secretaries Day.
*** Updating my post from two days ago: today I saw a Clinton bumpersticker. On -- wait for it -- a red pick-up truck.
**** Don't forget, today is my satellite radio debut! Tune in to Sirius Channel 110 "IndieTalk" at 5 p.m. Eastern, when I will be a guest on the political talkshow The Blog Bunker. Listen as I try to refrain from calling Hillary Clinton the c-word. ("Crazy.")