Oregon Republicans Support Marriage Equality in Landmark Vote at Annual Conference

Republicans at the 50th Annual Dorchester Conference in Seaside, Oregon voted 233 -162 over the weekend in a first-ever endorsement of marriage equality by a GOP-dominated gathering of Oregon political activists, according to a press release from Freedom Oregon.

OregonFreedom Oregon, a coalition of Republican leaders, formed earlier this year to rally Republican support for a proposed ballot initiative that would overturn Oregon’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

“There are a large number of young Republicans who are finding their voice in the party,” said Alexis Wolf, a Republican active in Freedom Oregon. “We don’t believe the freedom to express love and commitment should be limited by government.”

Said Chairman of LCR Oregon and Co-Director of Freedom Oregon James Owens, in a statement:

“The Dorchester Conference sets the tone for the GOP in Oregon for the coming year, and I’m proud to have led Log Cabin Republicans members on the floor of the convention today as we made history and moved one step closer to making marriage equality a reality for committed same-sex couples in this state. This wasn’t a vote against an anti-gay resolution, it was a vote in favor of freedom for all Oregonians — and a message to those fringe members of the Oregon Republican Party obsessed with pushing discriminatory measures similar to Arizona’s SB-1062 on the ballot in November. Today wasn’t just great — it was the absolute best outcome for Log Cabin Republicans, and a statement that Oregon Republicans are becoming more mainstream, less divided, and ready to win on issues like economic freedom, personal responsibility, lower taxes and a less intrusive government.”

Oregon's marriage equality battle is headed to a climax in 2014. Not only are there efforts toward a ballot measure underway which must qualify by July 3, two couples filed suit against the state's gay marriage ban in October.

Oregon's attorney general Ellen Rosenblum said last month that she would not defend the state's gay marriage ban in court, joining several attorneys general around the country in viewing such laws as unconstitutional following the SCOTUS ruling in the Windsor DOMA case.


  1. says

    I guarantee you’re going to see a big GOP shift as we near elections to embrace and support gay marriage. They HAVE to and they know it. I think we’ve won the marriage war, it’s just a matter of time now.

  2. I was there says

    For those of us who remember Oregon’s genuinely terrifying Measure 9 in 1992, this is tremendously satisfying.

    What does Lon Mabon think? Will the poor guy now bang his head even harder on the walls of his padded cell?

  3. Francis says

    There’s a rival event of social conservatives occurring at the same time in Oregon while this event is on going at Dorchester. Basically Republicans in Oregon have completely split, with moderate Republicans on one side and conservative Republicans on the other.

    Dorchester also backs abortion rights, and opposed an anti-gay marriage amendment in 1992, so this vote really isn’t that surprising in context. Seems like this is an event of a lot of moderate/liberal Republicans, and a lot of younger Republicans. There were/are also a fair few gay Republicans at this event.

    Is this group representative of the Republican party and where it’s headed or is CPAC? That’s a question everyone will have to ponder for themselves.

  4. Steve says

    Wasn’t Obama against gay marriage… Until Biden beat him to being pro gay marriage. It was then that Obama’s views “evolved”. Depend on none of them.

  5. Jim says

    Better late than never, but a political party that wants to lead ought to realize that leaders don’t bring up the rear; they’re out front setting the direction. You don’t lead on an issue when a majority of Oregonians have already decided in favor of marriage equality. That’s called following.

  6. Bob K says

    Left out: the story of the OTHER republican meeting, which is anti-equality. It’s nice that the more liberal repubs are for it, but in Oregon, they really could not show their faces if they weren’t.

    The fall referendum is STUPID and late — the Gay thing in Oregon is run by lesbians who were chickenshit to tag onto the 2012 WA election, whose ads ran on Portland media, (the market for SW Washington)
    Although they are busy congratulating themselves over their wonderful organization, they are putting on a vote too late, instead of concentrating on the courts.
    I am against any further votes: they are demeaning, expensive, and polarizing

  7. Bill Perdue says

    Obama was not the first of the bigots to rebrand on the question of marriage equality and he was followed by several more Democrat bigots and now by quite a few Republican bigots.

    The marriage equality dominoes are falling almost too fast to count but bigots like Obama still pigheadedly refuse to sign the ENDA EO he promised to sign in 2008. “Obama Pledged To Enact LGBT Protections In 2008, Now Administration Refuses To Comment On It – Chris Geidener at Metro Weekly has learned that, as a candidate in 2008, President Obama committed to supporting a “formal written policy of non-discrimination that includes sexual orientation and gender identity or expression … for all Federal contractors,” even though the White House now avoids addressing calls for him to sign such an Executive Order. Over 100,000 have signed a Freedom To Work Change.org petition urging the President to take action and both the Justice Department and Labor Department have approved the language, but administration officials refuse to comment on the matter.” http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/03/08/441046/obama-pledged-to-enact-lgbt-protections-in-2008-now-administration-refuses-to-comment-on-it/

    Bigots don’t change, they just rebrand. And some dupes get duped.

  8. TampaZeke says

    Yeah, because, when I’m looking for a political party to join, I look for one that’s moving boldly into the 20th Century!


    But good for them. I guess, for those looking for such a Party, the Oregon GOP is a good place to start.

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