Oregon May Take Same-Sex Marriage to the Polls


Reports suggest that equality groups in Oregon are flirting with the idea of trying to overturn Oregon’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage at the 2012 ballot.

The Statesman Journal reports that Oregon group Basic Rights Oregon has announced that it will begin an education campaign to try and highlight the importance of legalizing marriage equality ahead of a potential drive in October to begin signature gathering.

A statement from Basic Rights Oregon clarifies that there has been no formal announcement that they will push for a November 2012 public vote but they are considering the idea:

Statement from Jeana Frazzini, Executive Director of Basic Rights Oregon: An article by the Salem Statesman Journal inadvertently implied that Basic Rights Oregon has already decided to gather signatures for a 2012 ballot measure, while in fact we do not expect to make this decision until later this year. In the meantime, we continue our work to educate the public about why civil marriage matters to caring and committed same-sex couples. Last year, we launched this education campaign to engage Oregonians in conversations in person, on social media and on TV.

This news is still significant. Oregon would be breaking ground if it were able to put the issue of same-sex marriage before the public and repeal the state’s constitutional amendment.

In a piece for the New York Times published earlier this year statistician Nate Silver predicted that, based on both conservative and more optimistic models on how support for same-sex marriage is progressing, if Oregon took its constitutional ban to the polls it would see the public choose to overturn the ban by a margin of 55%.

However, some are more hesitant. President Obama’s election in 2008 coincided with the enactment of Proposition 8, California’s same-sex marriage ban. The high voter turnout brought on by the presidential elections and the motivation this provided conservative groups spell red flags for some. They fear that a move to overturn Oregon’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage may be a wasted effort and that advocates should be concentrating their efforts elsewhere, such as in court action.

This divide in thought is unlikely to go away, however what does seem important as a final note is the circumstances in which Oregon enacted a constitutional ban. Marriage licenses were issued to same-sex couples for a brief time in 2004 before the state’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage was enacted. The state supreme court later declared those marriages to be invalid. We have seen a sense of fairness play out in opinion polls which suggest that once a right has been given (even if inadvertently), a large proportion of the fair minded public feel it unjust to take that right away. As Oregonians have seen several states legalize same-sex marriage since they last took action in 2004, perhaps most notably and most recently New York, they may think to reconsider the ban.

In related news, campaigners in Maine have already announced their desire to put same-sex marriage on the 2012 ballot.

Related Reading:
Man Marries Trans Woman in Cuba, Media Doesn’t Get It
Poll Says New Yorkers Happy With Marriage Equality
GOP Candidates Talk Same-Sex Marriage (VIDEO)

Photo used under the MorgueFile user license, with thanks to arashdeep.


Arielle Black-Foley

Lets hope that Oregon passes same sex marriage. Seems like a long shot, but you have to have hope.

Heather G.
Heather G6 years ago

What would putting the right of same-sex people to marry each other up for a vote prove?? Nothing, except "christian" gay-haters outnumber gay people. And when the measure is defeated those "christians," like Dawid, Vernon and Lydia (to name just a few) can gloat over how righteous they think they are. Pathetic and cowardly : (

K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Hayley Zacheis
Hayley Zacheis6 years ago

Interesting, thanks for posting. Hope this has a happy ending....

Sharon H.
Sharon H6 years ago

This is off topic and I'm going to post it on every thread today, but several people have told me that they have quit getting the daily Care2 news via their emails. It seems that it's affecting quite a few. My suggestion to them was to subscribe again because that's what I had to do awhile back when it happened to me. If it's happening to a lot of people, we might have to notify the C2 staff so that they're aware of yet another glitch.

Leslea Herber
Leslea Herber6 years ago

A just society doesn't put the RIGHTS of minorities up for majority vote. Would people be as accepting of this if it were a vote whether to ALLOW women the right to vote or deny it? Especially if only men were allowed to vote? Somehow I doubt it.

Likewise would it be permissable to have a vote on whether or not people of various racial history would be permitted to vote, when only allowing caucasian folks the vote?

THAT is what this vote is about.

The whole damn system is SCREWED beyond belief & legislators should be doing the RIGHT thing & proving that ALL people are equal by quashing the homophobic law that prevents same sex marriage.

Then again, MOB RULE seems to be the order of the day in many States in the US... Too bad. Mobs by their nature tend to be vicious & violent entities, where the collective average IQ is LOWER than that of the individuals participating.

Here in Canada, the courts ORDERED the implementation of same sex marriage. They OVER RULED THE MOB. Too bad your courts don't have the balls that the Canadian judges had.

pam w.
pam w6 years ago

To Linda D.B.....your religion is your right....but it is NOT the religion of the State of Oregon. Nor should it be, since your interpretation of it is based on denial of equality for homosexuals. Pity.

Kaitlin Carney
Kaitlin Carney6 years ago

There is still so much hate, as evidenced by some of the comments here, that makes me feel pessimistic about BRO's chances of winning this battle right now. I am sure that many social liberals in Oregon feel that if California can't legalize same sex marriage, how will lil ol' Oregon do it? I hope it passes if they decide to take the legislative approach. I'm a ballot counting machine operator in Lane County's elections office, so it will be exciting to watch the results come in.

Jennifer S.
Jennifer S6 years ago

If Oregon wishes to make Same-Sex Marriage its law, they should take a page out of the effort to pass SSM in New York. It was a well-orchestrated and deliberate campaign with widespread participation. Undoubtedly they will know that there will be massive resistance from the Religious Right, and, clearly, this is a question of equal rights, so best of luck to Oregon! Same Sex Marriage's time has come.

Dawid Blyth
David B6 years ago

I certainly hope that the ban is retained