Queer Heroes NW 2013

Harriet Merrick

When other avenues to justice seem to be blocked, Americans can take their concerns to court. Being the plaintiff in a court case can be grueling and demoralizing, but it is the last resort for justice in our legal system.

Harriet MerrickHarriet Merrick went to court in the 1990s over an Oregon Citizens Alliance ballot measure that had been voted into law.

The OCA’s Ballot Measure 8 overturned Governor Neil Goldschmidt’s 1988 executive order which banned discrimination based on sexual orientation in the executive department of state government, and it went on to prohibit any state official in the future from requiring non-discrimination against state employees based on sexual orientation. This initiative won by a 5.5% margin, and it would have become law if it went unchallenged.

Harriet P. Merrick, a lesbian employee of the University of Oregon, took the new law to court in cooperation with the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon. In Merrick v. Oregon, 1992, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled Measure 8 unconstitutional because its effect was “to restrain the right of free expression.”

In 2013, Harriet is still on the ACLU Board. She has been involved in LGBT community development and activism since 1973/74, with board positions on Right To Pride/Right to Privacy, Basic Rights Oregon, The Equality Project, and Planned Parenthood.

She is on the board of directors, and enjoys singing with, Soromundi Lesbian Chorus in Eugene.


Q Center and the Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest (GLAPN) have partnered on an annual multi-media celebration of LGBTQ pioneers and leaders from our local movement called Queer Heroes NW!

The project features a new queer hero (nominated by the greater LGBTQ community) every day online during Pride month (June). The 30 queer heroes are also featured on the walls of the Aaron Hall Gallery at Q Center for the months of June and July, as well as in Q Center’s Pride booths all over the region.

After Pride is over each year the portable display hits the road and makes the rounds all over com





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