Wednesday, August 07, 2013

UPDATE: Oregon Marriage Equality Fight Going Well

Good news from Oregon! The Beaver State is the only remaining state of the three Pacific states that does not have marriage equality. LGBT activists have announced that they intend to change that by passing a ballot measure in the 2014 statewide election to repeal Oregon's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and enact marriage equality.

Oregon United for Marriage is the lead organization which is responsible for gathering the necessary 116, 248 valid signatures to place the marriage equality measure on the ballot. The text of the initiative language is:
“Article XV, section 5(a). Policy regarding marriage. It is the policy of Oregon, and its political subdivisions, that only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or legally recognized as a marriage. It is the policy of the State of Oregon to recognize and protect the right to marry, while also preserving and protecting the right of religious institutions and clergy to refuse to perform a marriage.
(1) Right to Marry: The state and its political subdivisions shall issue marriage licenses to all couples who otherwise meet the requirements of Oregon law regarding age, marital status, capacity to consent to marriage, and degree of kinship.
(2) Religious Protection: The existing right of religious institutions and clergy to refuse to perform a marriage shall be protected.
(3) Non-Discrimination: All legally valid marriages shall be treated equally under the law.”
That seems pretty clear, doesn't it? The official summary of the ballot language (which will most likely be known as Ballot Measure 8 if, as expected, it qualifies for the ballot) is:
Result of “Yes” Vote:  “Yes” vote amends constitution; recognizes the right of same-gender couples to marry; protects right of clergy and religious institutions to refuse to perform marriages.
Result of “No” Vote:  “No” vote retains existing constitutional ban on marriage of same-gender couples; retains constitutional provision that recognizes only marriage between one man and one woman.
Summary:  Oregon Constitution currently bans marriage between couples of the same gender by providing that only marriage between one man and one woman is valid or legally recognized.  Oregon statutes currently limit the right to marriage based on age, capacity to consent, marital status, and degree of kinship.  Measure amends Constitution to recognize the right of couples of the same gender to marry provided they meet statutory qualifications.  Measure requires state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples on the same basis as opposite-sex couples.  Measure provides that marriages between same-sex couples are subject to the same laws that govern marriages between opposite-sex couples.  Measure protects the existing right of religious institutions and clergy to refuse to perform a marriage.  Other provisions.
It appears as if the fight for marriage equality in Oregon is going well. In the first 10 days of collecting signatures, OUM gathered well over 30,000 signatures, more than 3 times its original goal of 10,000. Elections in Oregon are entirely vote by mail. If you are a registered voter in Oregon you can download a petition yourself at Oregon Says I Do and sign in a petition to help the Freedom to Marry to come to Oregon in 2014!

Hat/tip to HRC Blog

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