Oregon Gay Activists Gearing Up For 2012 Ballot Fight

Oregonsign Basic Rights Oregon, the state's premiere LGBT rights group, said this weekend that they will start collecting signatures in October for a possible 2012 ballot campaign for same-sex marriage.

Via The Statesman Journal:

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 said. “I think it’s really important that Oregonians have an understanding of how discrimination impacts the lesbian, gay, transgender and bi-sexual community."

Brown's not alone in supporting marriage equality in the Beaver State: a Public Policy Polling survey from June of this year showed that 48% of Oregonians believe marriage between same-sex couples should be legal.

Those numbers are strong, but one never knows whether survey participants are being truly honest with their inclusive responses, and right-wing push back would guarantee a fierce elecotral battle. In fact, conservatives are already preparing their own efforts.

"We'll fight hard for it.  We have been working for that end as if they are going to run" said Tim Nashif, head of the Oregon Family Council, earlier this year.


  1. TonyJ says

    So, Alex, what do you expect our community to do? Wait for another dozen years to see if someone is kind enough to offer us equal rights?

    Your statement is quite ridiculous, and (yes) it is horribly difficult to win our rights at the ballot box—being such a smaller minority…

  2. John K. says

    Alex, I may be wrong, but I think Oregon has a state constitutional amendment banning marriage equality right now and the only way to get equality in that state is to vote to overturn the ban (or wait for a US Supreme Court decision…I’ll take the vote).

  3. Kenneth E. says

    John you’re right. The only way to ammend the state constitution here in OR is with a ballot measure. Our elected officials can’t do it or they would, so it does have to go to a popular vote. While on principle it doesn’t sit well to think that someone else is voting on your rights, this is the only way forward in Oregon.

    An added bonus: if either Oregon or Main passes marriage equality next year, it destroys the last talking point Maggie Gallagher has – that every time it’s come to a vote it’s been shot down. On a national level, that would be huge.

  4. Jollysocks says

    Wow, Maine and Oregon has going for this and Equality California is once again sitting on their asses. Unbelievable. I was called by Equality California for money the other day, can you believe that? MONEY FOR WHAT, exactly?!

  5. Mark says

    Gay marriage won’t pass in Oregon by popular vote. It didn’t pass in California so it can’t pass anywhere else at this time. Hope is one thing, reality is another. Before you start telling me that you’ve personally seen so many young people who are supportive of gay marriage, let me just ask you if you’ve asked all these college-age people whether they vote. Go ahead and ask them. You need a healthy doze of shock.

    It’s not the young that vote. Voting is something they usually couldn’t care less about. You know who goes to vote? Middle age parents whose sex life sucks, and who’ve been battered with anti-gay ads about how their children are going to become gay if gay marriage passes. I realize that mentally you live in a different world with no way to relate to these folks. Call them bigots if you want but they believe what they’re told and they are scared. My bet is that it’s fear that will show at the polls. Go ahead, prove me wrong. I dare you!

  6. jay says

    I’ve lived in Oregon since 1999. The state did vote during the first Bush election to amend the constitution to prohibit same sex marriage. It barely passed and I think if it hadn’t been wrapped up in the presidential election hysteria it would have failed. The state legislature immediately passed a bill granting all the rights of marriage to domestic partners with almost zero backlash.

    If any state has a chance of legalizing same sex marriage by popular vote, Oregon does.

  7. Matt in PDX says

    I agree with Jay. It’s simply not the case that just because marriage equality failed at the ballot box in California, the same thing will necessarily happen in Oregon. People in California think that Oregon is a lot more conservative, but it’s not true.

    If BRO gets a measure on the 2012 ballot, the vote will be VERY close, and our side will have to work VERY VERY hard to win. But that said, I wouldn’t be too surprised if we win here before we win in California.

  8. Ken says

    First of all, all you who say it failed in California so it will fail in Oregon are flat out wrong. Four years will have passed since the vote in California and opinion has changed in that time. I also beleive Oregon is more favorable demographicly for us than California. Very happy to hear they are doing this in Oregon and Maine, I beleive those are the right places. In California, I say let the legal process play out.

  9. Mark says


    You say “People in California think that Oregon is a lot more conservative, but it’s not true.”

    That’s a matter of private opinion, not fact. The only fact we have right now is that a gay marriage ballot measure has failed even in the most liberal of states. And yes, four years will have passed, in 2012, that’s also a fact, but regardless, the only measure of what you truly believe is what you’re willing to bet money on. If you had to bet your annual salary one way or the other, are u willing to bet that Oregon voters will vote to allow gay marriage?

    Since we’re on the facts here’s another curious one for you: there was a poll conducted in California six weeks before the 2008 election day and it showed a slim majority supporting gay marriage. What changed in six weeks? For one thing the NOM ads hit the airwaves with messages from school girls like “Hey, mom, guess what I learned in school today? I can marry my girlfriend.” For another, the campaign on our side got complacent from poll results and did not refute a single one of the NOM anti-gay ads. Not one!

    The problem with your conclusions is that you translate indifference and fence-sitting for actual support. The straight people who are willing to tolerate gay marriage for the sake overall social peace are not accepting gays per se. The attitude often heard is “ok, ‘they’ can marry but I don’t want them anywhere near me or my children.” It goes without saying that when the NOM ads hit hard where it hits home, a ballot measure cannot win. Not at this time anyway. I’m afraid it’s going to take more than four years. It’ll take a whole new generation.

  10. Ken says

    So Mark, What do you think we should do, give up? Wait for a positive Supreme Court ruling that may or may not happen? This battle needs to be fought in as many ways as possible, courts, legislatures, and ballot initiatives. Winning in Oregon is not a sure thing, but I think we have a good chance, and I think it’s a chance worth taking.

  11. Mark says


    Again, your assertions are a matter of personal opinion, not fact. Perhaps you didn’t read my last post in its entirety. People and self-proclaimed “analysts” can think whatever they want but if you wanna know how they truly feel on the matter you have to ask them which they would bet their annual salary if they had to bet one way or the other. There is no way to predict an event with 100% certainty (cause otherwise we could change the course of the event to suit our desires) but if I absolutely had to predict one way or the other in a responsible, rational way, I would have to rely on the data I have from all similar events leading up to this point in time

  12. shadow_man says

    Mark: There’s quite a bit of errors in your “facts” Those people that support gay marriage don’t do it because they “tolerate” it, they do it because they realize there is nothing wrong with homosexuality and the facts provide that. Many blue states are at the tipping point now, and very soon the majority of them will support gay marriage by popular vote. Almost everyone under 30 that i know support’s same-sex marriage, and see homosexuality as a normal variant of sexuality. That generation will take over quickly, as we’re seeing it right now. Even the 30-50 generation is starting to change their minds quickly.

    Why you ask? It comes down to the fact that: 1) Anti-gays cannot prove homosexuality is wrong, because it isn’t, and the scientific facts support that notion 2) Gay marriage is not wrong 3) Gay people is similar to race/gender where you cannot change whom you are attracted to (unless you’re bi-sexual, then you can choose your partners, but not your orientation)

  13. shadow_man says

    We need to get the word out to religious communities that anti-gay people are twisting God’s words to condone their hate.

    Homosexuality is not a sin. The Bible is constantly being taken out of context to support anti-gay views. Scholars who have studied the Bible in context of the times and in relation to other passages have shown those passages (Leviticus, Corinthians, Romans, etc) have nothing to do with homosexuality. These passages often cherry-picked while ignoring the rest of the Bible. The sins theses passages are referring to are idolatry, Greek temple sex worship, prostitution, pederasty with teen boys, and rape, not homosexuality or two loving consenting adults.


  14. shadow_man says

    This is the perfect example of how anti-gay people change the bible’s words for their anti-gay agenda.

    Corinthians 6:9-11
    Let us examine that very closely.

    Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [malakoi], nor homosexual offenders [arsenokoites], nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.

    First of all, before we address this line, let us consider one thing. Supposedly taken from a 2000+ year old book, understand that the word “homosexual” was not coined until 1869 by Austrian-born novelist Karl-Maria Kertbeny. So how it happens to be included in a true reading of the particular biblical passage should make you ponder how accurate the interpretation actually is. So man changing the words of the Bible to conveniently spread hate?


  15. shadow_man says

    For those of you claiming homosexuality is a “lifestyle”, that is a false and ignorant statement. Homosexuality is not a choice. Just like you don’t choose the color of your skin, you cannot choose whom you are sexually attracted to. Virtually all major psychological and medical experts agree that sexual orientation is NOT a choice. Most gay people will tell you its not a choice. Common sense will tell you its not a choice. While science is relatively new to studying homosexuality, studies tend to indicate that its biological.

    Gay, Straight Men’s Brain Responses Differ

    There is overwhelming scientific evidence that homosexuality is not a choice. Sexual orientation is generally a biological trait that is determined pre-natally, although there is no one certain thing that explains all of the cases. “Nurture” may have some effect, but for the most part it is biological.

  16. shadow_man says

    The National Library of Medicine pubs confirm that sexual orientation is natural, biologically induced in the first trimester of pregnancy, morally neutral, immutable, neither contagious nor learned, bearing no relation to an individuals ability to form deep and lasting relationships, to parent children, to work or to contribute to society.

    From the American Psychological Association: homosexuality is normal; homosexual relationships are normal.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association and American Psychiatric Association have endorsed civil marriage for same-sex couples because marriage strengthens mental and physical health and longevity of couples, and provides greater legal and financial security for children, parents and seniors.

    America’s premier child/mental health associations endorse marriage equality.

    And it should also be noted that:
    “It is worth noting that many medical and scientific organizations do believe it is impossible to change a person’s sexual orientation and this is displayed in a statement by American Academy of Pediatrics, American Counseling Association, American Association of School Administrators, American Federation of Teachers, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, American School Health Association, Interfaith Alliance Foundation, National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of Social Workers, and National Education Association.”

  17. shadow_man says

    This was taken from another poster that shows why we need to legalize gay marriage. If you don’t feel for this person after reading it, you simply aren’t human.

    “I am not sure what our President thinks of this dicission but coming from a poor family and knowing what discrimination is all about I would assume he would not care if “Gays” have equal rights. The whole reason why they are asking for rights to be considered married is from the same reason why I would be for it. My own life partner commited suicide in our home with a gun to his heart. After a 28 year union I was deprived to even go his funeral. We had two plots next to each other. But because we did not have a marriage cirtificate “(Legal Document)” of our union his mother had him cremated and his ashes taken back to Missouri where we came from. That is only one example how painful it is. His suicide tramatized me so much and her disregard for my feelings only added to my heartach. That happened on March 21 of 2007 and I still cannot type this without crying for the trauma I have to endure each day. Oh did I mention I am in an electric wheelchair for life? Yes I am and it is very diffacult to find another mate when you are 58 and in a wheelchair. “

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