SALEM, Ore. — An anti-gay rights ballot measure passed by Oregon voters four years ago is unconstitutional, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
The initiative, known as Measure 8, repealed an executive order by former Gov. Neil E. Goldschmidt prohibiting state agencies from discriminating based on sexual orientation.
Measure 8 was sponsored by the Oregon Citizens Alliance, a group that this year sponsored a measure to amend the state constitution to declare homosexuality abnormal and perverse. Voters rejected that measure this month.
The three-judge appellate panel ruled that the 1988 initiative violated rights of free expression.
"A statute that establishes a content-based restriction on the free expression rights of public employees cannot be sustained," the court said in its opinion.
The ruling frees state agencies to adopt rules against employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. The court upheld the state Board of Higher Education's approval of such rules.