not endorse a strict regime of confidentiality
and sealed records until 1957, and nothing prevented adult adoptees
in the state from obtaining copies of their adoption records, including
original birth certificates, before the 1950s. Forty-one years after
passage of the 1957 law, which placed adoption information off limits,
Chief Petitioner Helen Hill, Bastard
Nation, and other advocates sought to overturn adoption secrecy.
They took their case directly to voters, a novel approach in adoption
reform. A majority (57%) of those voters agreed that sealed records
had no place in adoption. After the election, thousands of adoptees
applied for their original birth certificates, but the measure did
not go into effect because of a lawsuit filed by a group of birth
mothers who challenged its constitutionality and argued that
it violated their rights by ignoring the assurances they had been
given that their identities would remain confidential. Their suit
ultimately failed. Ballot Measure 58 was upheld. Oregon's open records
policy has been in effect since the summer of 2000.
BALLOT TITLE: 58
REQUIRES ISSUING COPY OF ORIGINAL OREGON BIRTH
CERTIFICATE TO ADOPTEES
TEXT OF MEASURE
Upon receipt of a written application to the state registrar, any
adopted person 21 years of age and older born in the state of Oregon
shall be issued a certified copy of his/her unaltered, original
and unamended certificate of birth in the custody of the state registrar,
with procedures, filing fees, and waiting periods identical to those
imposed upon non-adopted citizens of the State of Oregon pursuant
to ORS 432.120 and 432.146. Contains no exceptions.
This measure changes existing law to allow an adopted person 21
years of age or older to obtain a copy of the person's original
birth certificate. Current Oregon law prohibits the release of an
original birth certificate to such an adopted person without a court
order. The law currently requires that upon receipt of a decree
of adoption or a report of adoption from a court, the state registrar
shall issue a new birth certificate unless the court, the adoptive
parents or the adopted person requests otherwise.
This measure requires that upon receipt of a written application
the state registrar shall provide a copy of the original birth certificate
to an Oregon born adopted person 21 years of age or older. This
measure requires that the procedures, filing fees and waiting periods
for certified copies of original birth certificates be the same
for requests by adopted persons as for non-adopted persons.
This measure applies to persons adopted in the past or in the future.
There are no exceptions to this measure.