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Logo of Oregon United for Marriage
Oregon is used to being the vanguard west coast state on social and civic issues, rivaled nationally only by Vermont for being at the forefront for progressive change. On marriage equality, though, they've slacked. In fact, a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage passed in 2004. The state granted domestic partnership protections since 2008, but the marriage ban still exists, a stain on the state's progressive reputation. But that's going to change, and soon.

On Valentine's Day, Oregon United for Marriage began collecting signatures to get a marriage equality on the ballot for 2014. As a preliminary step, the group was required to gather 1,000 signatures to submit the measure to the Secretary of State's office for an initial review. Oregon United didn't just meet that number, they doubled it—and in record time:

Oregon United for Marriage collected the signatures in one week, one of the fastest turnaround times for a sponsorship petition. The signatures come from 29 counties across Oregon, counties representing over 97 percent of Oregon’s population. Leaders from across the state—including Governor John Kitzhaber and former Governor Barbara Roberts, plus state legislators, mayors, and city and county elected officials—signed the sponsorship petitions.

This initiative would repeal the same-sex marriage ban and replace it with a constitutional provision that recognizes and protects the right of all Oregonians to marry, regardless of their gender. The initiative protects the existing rights of religious institutions and clergy to refuse to perform any marriage.  

Over 70 clergy and faith leaders from numerous denominations signed the sponsorship petition, representing Protestant, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Lutheran-Catholic, Methodist, Jewish, Quaker, and Buddhist faith traditions.

Goal Thermometer

Oregon voters seem to be ready. In a PPP poll in December, 54 percent said they would vote for it, with 40 percent against. We've seen in the past that polling on this issue can be tricky, and the issue often polls better than it performs on the ballot, so this early lead certainly can't be taken to the bank.

First, though, Oregon United needs to collect over 100,000 more signatures to ensure a spot on the ballot—a huge task in a small state with fewer than four million citizens. Let's help them get there. Please contribute now to Oregon United for Marriage so they can be the next state to vote for equality.

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