Marriage Equality Initiative


Following the example of 15 states and the District of Columbia, Oregon citizens want to make marriage equality the law in Oregon.  Scores of petitioners are gathering signatures to put the Freedom to Marry and Religious Protection Initiative on the November 2014 ballot.

If it passes, same sex couples would have the legal right to marry in Oregon.

“In its simplest terms, marriage is a fundamental freedom for all who love each other,” says Peter Zuckerman of Oregon United for Marriage.  “This movement is about love and the freedom to marry.”

Unlike states that can alter current law on gay marriage through the legislature or courts, Oregon can only change its definition of marriage through a ballot measure.  This is because there is currently a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage here, created by the 2004 passage of Measure 36.  At that time 57% of voters defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Salem will see upcoming events that support the effort to change things, including a Day of Action on December 14, when marriage equality volunteers will take to Salem downtown streets to gather signatures.

“The response we have gotten in Salem is positive,” according to Gregg Moreland, a local volunteer for Oregon United for Marriage.  “Someone came up and said he’d been looking for us, he’s been wanting to sign.  It’s really exciting to be there for people.”

Willamette University has joined in the cause with Students United for Marriage.  Willamette student Dylan Sheldon describes considerable interest on-campus; on an initial outing “the group obtained contact information an about 160 students who wanted to help out, and got a few hundred [petition] signatures in just a few hours.”

Sheldon says the work is personal for him.  “As a young gay person I want to grow up and meet someone and fall in love, and to have that love validated by marriage.”

Sheldon also believes that the passage of the initiative would make an important statement about Oregon’s values.  “Winning gay freedom would send a message to other young people not accepted at home, to know that their love is accepted by the majority of Oregonians.”

Online resources for interested persons include Oregon United for Marriage, Oregon Says I Do and Basic Rights Oregon.

Petitions require 116,284 signatures to qualify for the ballot, and the groups have already obtained 115,000.

“Every signature is an opportunity to talk to people about why marriage matters,” says Zuckerman.

3 thoughts on “Marriage Equality Initiative”

  1. Actually, it is 16 now with Illinois and Hawaii coming onboard, plus DC. That is about 40% of the USA population living in a state where same-sex marriage is legal. And, in many other states, same-sex marriages from other states where it is legal are recognized in those states where it is not yet legal.

    As the court cases hit each state it is no surprise the bans against same-sex marriage are dissolving. The anti-same-sex marriage crowd needs to show where “harm” to the couple and/or society occurs in order to justify the continued discrimination against same-sex couples. As this has yet to be shown in Court, the bans fall by the wayside. It will take some time but same-sex marriage will become the law of the land.

  2. There is no good reason to deny that we must keep evolving until an adult, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, monogamy or polyamory, race, or religion is free to marry any and all consenting adults. The limited same-gender freedom to marry is a great and historic step, but is NOT full marriage equality, because equality “just for some” is not equality. Let’s stand up for EVERY ADULT’S right to marry the person(s) they love. Get on the right side of history!

  3. I’m a little late to the party here, but here goes.

    Why should the government have any control over who any adult marries? What justification does the government have for requiring a license to get married? Why does any person have to get the governments permission to marry? Why does the government decide who can and can’t perform marriages? In short, why is the government involved in marriage at all?

    The government needs to get out of the marriage business. Treat marriages just like births and deaths. When you have a child, you file a birth certificate with the state. When you die, someone files a death certificate with the state. You don’t have to get permission or buy a license for either. There is now an official record that someone was born or that they died. That’s entirely reasonable. The state’s involvement should be nothing more than record keeping.

    Why should getting married be any different?


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