Opponents of two
gay rights measures signed into law this month by
Oregon governor Ted Kulongoski have mounted a petition drive
to block their enforcement pending a popular vote.
The rights foes,
led byJack Brown, chairman of the fringe
Constitution Party of Oregon, have until August 15 to
collect 55,179 signatures to put the questions on a
low threshold gives them an excellent chance, said Bryan
Boyd, communications coordinator of the gay rights group
Basic Rights Oregon.
We're actually very confident, based on polling, that
Oregonians will vote against discrimination," Boyd told
Gay.com on Tuesday.
The laws, signed
May 9, create domestic partnerships for Oregon gay men
and lesbians and outlaw discrimination against LGBT people
in the workplace, public accommodations, and housing.
Both are set to take effect January 1.
If the rights
foes qualify their initiatives, however, as is likely,
enforcement of the laws will be delayed until after the
November 2008 general election, so that even if the
antigay proposals are defeated, LGBT Oregonians
will lose a year of legally conferred rights.
"We are conscious
that the lives and livelihoods of hundreds and
thousands of Oregonians are at stake," Boyd said, predicting
"a battle, and it's going to be nasty.
"So we'll be
looking at every signature to make sure it is
genuine," he said. "We will not let one slip by."
Brown, of Grants
Pass, told The [Portland] Oregonian newspaper
he is mounting his effort because he sees the laws as
defying the spirit of a state constitutional amendment
approved by voters in 2004 that limits marriage to a man and
"Even though the
legislature knew what the intent of the voters was,
they ignored it," he told the newspaper. (Barbara Wilcox,