PRESS RELEASE: For immediate release
Contact: Helen Hill (800) 262-5551, (503) 368-5786

Adoptee Rights Initiative Speeds to Ballot

Historic adoptee rights measure makes Oregon ballot ahead of the pack.

Friday, July 9, 1998 -- Oregon Open '98 today announced that the Adoptee Rights Initiative, Measure 58, officially qualified for the November 3rd ballot.

Ballot Measure 58, if passed, will restore the right of adopted adults to obtain a copy of their original birth certificate upon request and without exception.

This is the first time in U.S. history that an initiative to restore adult adoptee access to original birth certificates has succeeded to a statewide ballot. During the post-WWII decades, Oregon, along with most states, abrogated the right of adopted adults to receive a copy of their original record of birth. This was originally intended to protect adopted people from the negative stigma of their illegitimacy, a notion which is outdated in the climate of today's more accepting attitudes towards adoption.

Measure 58 was the very first initiative of over 90 filed in the state of Oregon to receive the required number of signatures (73,261) to make the ballot. Signature gatherers working on this initiative reported that citizens across the state were receptive and eager to sign this petition and reacted to this issue as a welcome change from politics as usual. Signature gatherers also reported that the vast majority of Oregonians understood and appreciated the civil rights aspect of the initiative's uncompromising intent. This initiative represents a step into exciting new territory for adoption reform: no longer will issues of civil rights and birth certificate access be left to closed rooms, small committees, and a handful of legislators.

Chief Petitioner Helen Hill says: "Oregon's Ballot Measure 58 is first, last, and foremost a civil rights effort by a group of citizens who are demanding that the State unseal their true document of birth; a document legally accessible to any non-adopted citizen of Oregon."

Oregon Bill of Rights
Section 20: Equality of privileges and immunities of citizens.
No law shall be passed granting to any citizen or class of citizens privileges or immunities, which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens.

For Further Information Contact:

Oregon Open '98
PO Box 353
Nehalem, Oregon 97131
Tel: (800) 262-5551, (503) 368-5786