Oregon commissioner who supports same-sex marriage faces recall

BY admin

March 31 2004 1:00 AM ET

Benton County, Ore., commission chairwoman Linda Modrell is now facing an organized recall effort, on the heels of her vote to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in the county. Benton County officials had planned to begin issuing the licenses to gay couples last week but changed those plans after the threat of legal action from the state attorney general's office. Instead, the county is now issuing no marriage licenses at all, to gay or straight couples. A new group, Citizens for Legal Accountability, filed papers on Monday to begin the recall efforts. Lee Vasche, cochairman of the group, said Modrell "violated the trust of the public, clearly broke Oregon statutes, and we feel that she is totally unfit to serve one more day."

After hearing about the recall, Modrell said her oath of office justified her actions. "Public officials have to uphold the constitution first and foremost," Modrell said. "Hard decisions by definition tend to be controversial."

To prompt a recall vote, signature gatherers have 90 days to collect 15% of registered voters' signatures, or 4,833 people. The county would then confirm the signatures, and if enough have been gathered, an election would be held within 35 days.

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