Portland Trail Blazers Become First NBA Team to Support Marriage Equality Bill

The Trail Blazers were joined by Portland's men and women's soccer team in supporting a push to put marriage equality on the Oregon ballot in 2014.

BY Sunnivie Brydum

October 17 2013 5:54 PM ET

After both the men's and women's professional soccer teams in Portland, Ore., endorsed marriage equality last week, the city's professional basketball team followed suit, marking the first time an NBA team has formally come out in support of marriage equality, according to The Oregonian

“The Portland Trail Blazers are in support of the Freedom to Marry and Religious Protection ballot initiative," reads a statement from the NBA team released October 11. "We do so as believers in individual choice as a fundamental right of all people."

The Trail Blazers issued the statement after the chief operating officer of the Portland Timbers — the men's Major League Soccer team — and the Portland Thorns — who play in the National Women's Soccer League — published a video explaining his clubs' support for marriage equality. The video was then posted to YouTube by the statewide equality organization Oregon United for Marriage. 

The Freedom to Marry and Religious Protection Initiative is the proposed ballot measure for which LGBT advocates in Oregon are currently collecting signatures, hoping to include the issue on the 2014 ballot. If passed, the law would repeal Oregon's 2004 voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage and replace it with language establishing the freedom to marry in the Beaver State. 

It appears marriage equality may be headed to Oregon through any one of several logistical avenues. Earlier this week, two same-sex couples in Portland filed a federal lawsuit challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage, and on Wednesday, a state official announced that in light of this summer's landmark Supreme Court rulings in favor of marriage equality, Oregon will begin recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states and countries. 

Watch the Timbers and Thorns COO, Mike Golub, announce both teams' support in the video below.

 

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