Monday, August 15, 2011

Oregon Gears Up For Gay Marriage In 2012

Basic Rights Oregon announced this weekend that they are gearing up to put a ballot initiative to the vote in 2012 legalizing same-sex marriage in the Beaver State.  Anybody can place an initiative on the ballot given enough petition signatures in Oregon, so the petition drive is slated to begin this October:

The announcement was made during a Garden Party fundraiser in South Salem benefiting the organization.

"I fully support the work that Basic Rights Oregon does," said Oregon State Secretary Kate Brown, the event's keynote speaker.

"They do an amazing job educating and engaging Oregonians across the state," she "I think it’s really important that Oregonians have an understanding of how discrimination impacts the lesbian, gay, transgender and bi-sexual community."
 It has the possibility of actually passing.  A recent poll found that 48% of Oregonians support full marriage equality, but some worry that a strong right-wing push in rural areas might keep current legislation in place.  In 2004, Oregonians approved a measure writing discrimination into the state constitution and that constitutional ban is what Basic Rights Oregon is up against.
Tim Nashif, the Oregon Family Council co-founder who ran the successful 2004 campaign for a ballot measure banning gay marriage in the state, says he is gearing up for a fight he doesn't want. 
If Basic Rights Oregon puts a measure on the 2012 ballot to repeal the ban, Nashif said he's confident Oregonians will uphold the ban. 
"We'll fight hard for it. We have been working for that end as if they are going to run" a ballot measure, said Nashif. But, he added, "it's a lot of stinking work and it causes a lot of hard feelings."
I was an Oregon voter in the '04 elections, and I was dismayed and outraged that my home state had taken such drastic steps to discriminate against myself and my fellow LGBT Oregonians.  I'm hopeful that, in 2012, the voters in the Beaver State will re-establish our image as welcoming and inclusive.  

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