On Sunday Towleroad reported on a landmark endorsement of marriage equality by Republican activists at the 50th Annual Dorchester Conference in Seaside, Oregon. Participants at the annual conference voted 233-162 in favor of supporting marriage equality.
The move was applauded by Freedom Oregon, a coalition of Republican leaders, and the Log Cabin Republicans.
The Oregon Republican Party was none too pleased, however, and issued this statement, signed by Oregon Republican Party State Chairman Art Robinson and Republican Party Congressional District 5 Chair Tyler Smith:
In response to questions from Republicans around the state of Oregon, the Oregon Republican Party would like to remind everyone that the Dorchester conference is not an official Republican party event. It is an event founded and run by former Senator Bob Packwood. Senator Packwood explained that he designed the conference to try to pull the Republican party to the left on policy issues and that he originally set it up as a protest to exclude the official Republican party. The Oregon Republican Party welcomes everyone into our party to debate the issues, but we desire to make it clear that we have an official party platform stating our positions on relevant issues. The platform of the Oregon Republican Party is debated and modified at our Convention and is always available to view on our website.
The Republican Party is proud to be known as the party of liberty. As the party of freedom, we believe that Americans should be free to live their lives as they wish, so long as they do not impede the freedom of others to do so. The state leadership of the Republican Party in Oregon continues to stand for freedom and religious liberty.
The Republican Party has been the champion of civil rights for 160 years including leading the great movements abolishing slavery and enacting civil rights legislation in the 1960’s. However, freedom also includes being free from having the institutions of government used to interfere in your life and redefine social institutions such as marriage, which people have built their societies around for thousands of years.
The institution of marriage being between men and women pre-dates government, and has continuously served as the foundation for family structure in ordered societies for thousands of years. We oppose the use of government to suppress and control your rights by interfering in bedrock social institutions.
We continue to ask everyone of every background to join the Republican Party to help us protect and preserve freedom, protect your religious liberty, and to prevent government overreach from destroying the institution of marriage and further taking away your rights through social engineering.
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.