Opponents of Marriage Equality Lose Challenge to Ballot Initiative Language in Oregon

Basic Rights Oregon is deciding between two versions of a voter initiative to bring to the ballot that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state. The language on both reads:

OregonAmends Constitution: Recognizes marriage between couples of same gender; protects clergy/religious institutions' refusal to perform marriages

Opponents of same-sex marriage challenged the language with the Attorney General's office, and lost, The Oregonian reports:

The attorney general's office on Friday announced its final wording on a ballot title  — and it rejected the legal argument from an attorney for the Oregon Family Council that the title should reflect the notion that the initiative would require every governmental agency in Oregon to issue marriage licenses.

Basic Rights Oregon, the gay-rights group sponsoring the initiative, has rejected that argument as absurd.  It says county clerks would continue to be the only ones issuing marriage licenses if this initiative is approved by voters.

Either side can appeal so there may be more legal challenges ahead, but this is where things stand at the moment.


  1. Anastasia Beaverhausen says

    Because we can’t have the Fish and Wildlife Department game wardens issuing same-sex marriage licenses, now can we? Never mind that they don’t issue any marriage licenses now…it’s a slippery slope.

  2. Acronym Jim says

    I don’t see why the Oregon “Family” Council, would object to the notion that every state agency would be required to issue marriage licenses. If true it could actually limit same-sex marriages.

    Seriously, could you imagine having to go to the DMV for your marriage license?


    *I kid the DMV. The last time I was there, they were lovely people and efficient at processing my request.

  3. Graphicjack says

    It’s not same-gender marriage, it’s same-sex marriage. It’s amazing how many people confuse the two words sex and gender… They do not mean the same thing. The language should be challenged for that reason, actually. This reads like a trans-positive marriage amendment, not a gay/lesbian/bi-positive marriage amendment.

  4. Deebee says

    Wait, shouldn’t it say that it protects clergy/religious institutions’ refusal to perform WEDDINGS, not marriages? Only the couple “performs” the marriage by staying together and loving each other, the church can only perform marriage CEREMONIES.

  5. brad says

    Let’s hope BRO doesn’t screw it up like they did the last ballot initiative on same sex marriage. They had twice the war chest as the other side and then ran very few ads while the otlher side flooded the media. They have done nothing since except take lots of donations and pay their executive staff exorbitant salaries. Many in the Oregon lgbt community are less than impressed.

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