Oregon Launches Marriage Equality Ballot Initiative

Oregon United for Marriage today announced its intent to put marriage equality legislation before Oregon voters in 2014.

BY Sunnivie Brydum

February 14 2013 1:57 PM ET

Oregon could become the next state to approve marriage equality by popular vote, if a campaign launched this morning by Oregon United for Marriage is successful. 

The newly formed organization, backed by Basic Rights Oregon, this morning took its first step toward putting marriage equality before Oregon voters, reports Erin Rook at PQ Monthly. The campaign established a petition committee that seeks to gather enough signatures to qualify the "Freedom to Marry and Religious Protection Act" for the Oregon ballot in November 2014. 

The legislation would dismantle Oregon's constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, approved by voters in 2004, according to PQ Monthly.

“We have worked tirelessly to build support for marriage equality in Oregon, to engage our community and our allies — and now it’s time to take the next step in winning the freedom to marry for all Oregonians,” said Basic Rights Oregon Executive Director Jeana Frazzini in a statement. “Today, we are inviting our partners and supporters to take this next step with us: To sign the sponsorship petition, and commit to uniting Oregon in support of the freedom to marry for all Oregonians.”

Supporters are submitting two draft versions of initiative language, both of which include exemptions for religious entities who choose not to endorse same-sex unions, reports Rook. Supporters will begin collecting signatures today, reports PQ Monthly

A Public Policy Poll conducted in December 2012 found that a majority of Oregonians support marriage equality, and a staggering 77% want to have a public vote on the issue. More than half (54%) said they would vote in favor of marriage equality, while just 40% said they are opposed. Voters under 45 support the freedom to marry by a margin of 68% to 30% opposed, according to PPP. 

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