Gay marriage: Oregon should be next

Karol Collymore

The last few days has been amazing in America.  Iowa's Supreme Court ended exclusion of gay couples in marriage and Vermont's State Legislature overrode a veto to pass same sex marriage.  These great moments of pride and amazement keep happening in our country and all I can do is stand back and smile.  As a people we continue to take steps to do what is right for all the citizens of our nation. 

I want Oregon to be next.

Over at Basic Rights Oregon's blog, the question posed is what is next for marriage equality in our state.  The only way to achieve marriage equality in our state is to run a ballot measure campaign.  Are Oregonians ready for that?  I don't know.  Is it time?  Yes.  It's time for all of us to do the right thing (It's not just a Spike Lee joint, people).  This is not an endeavor just left for activists.  Every last person who supports GLBT rights has to open their mouths and their wallets to pass a ballot measure putting equality back into our Constitution.  Go to BRO's blog and tell them how your feel or say it here.  Let them know to move forward and that we've got their backs.

Basic Rights Oregon, go for it; and let me know where to sign up. 

Comments

  • stop the assault (unverified)
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    I already know where to sign up, at the collection plate every Sunday opposing that kind of insane change. Civil unions okay - same sex marriage a step too far.

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    Yes! Thanks for the support for what I and others wrote on the BRO site. The political process is the only secure way to repeal Measure 36 (that is, if we beat the opposition in a second public election their momentum will be slowed just as the OCA slowed and then finally ground to a halt).

    Resort to the judicial process gives no guarantee that the Oregon court will strike down M 36. Worse, if the court were to strike it down the decision would be to the advantage of the opposition. The immediate result would be a repeat of the Prop 8 situation because the opposition would immediately take advantage of public sentiment. We would end up with their ballot measure on the ballot rather than ours.

    Running our own ballot measure at the right moment would cost us lots of money. But think of the millions that the Mormon church -- and the fringe groups -- would spend that they could otherwise spend on, say, a general election in 2010 or 2012.

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    Stop the assault says: "I already know where to sign up, at the collection plate every Sunday opposing that kind of insane change."

    Makes my point oh so well!

  • Ted Blaszak (unverified)
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    I believe that Oregon is better then measure 36. That measure 36 was a mistake in our past and we should overcome it and correct ourselves. That we should restore the dignity to our state lost in a heated election animated by fear and prejudice.

    I believe that deep down we are good people who honor and respect our neighbors. That all of us hold dear the principles of equality. That the majority of Oregonians would support a ballot measure that allows people to love the ones they love without interference from the state.

    Oregon should join VT, CT, MA, IA, and DC. We should repeal this discriminatory legislation with the very same popular vote that has put it in place.

  • (Show?)

    I agree with Ted and Lee.

    Basic Rights spent millions playing defense against Measure 36 with no success. I believe that they should put a full equality amendment on the ballot every year until it passes, the same way that the Women's suffragists did. It took them 5 times to finally pass their bill, but they did it -- 8 years before the Federal Government.

    If the process is started now, I believe that we will see full equality within the next 10 years -- probably sooner.

  • The Libertarian Guy (unverified)
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    Frankly the government has no business issuing marriage licenses, but given the present situation marriage equality is the way to go.

    Ain't no one's business how someone lives their own life.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    There is no polling in Oregon to indicate any shift has happened in Oregon with gay marriage. Basic Rights of Oregon with their utterly stupid maneuvering in Multnomah County simply succeeded in bringing an anti-gay constitutional amendment into law.

    Oregonians by a small margin support domestic partnership and civil union, but not gay marriage. Pushing the issue simply mobilizes and strengthens the right wing and Republican party. And at this time bread and butter issues of food on the table, health care coverage, a steady income are the real issues. There is no support among the political leadership in this country or this state for gay marriage with rare exception. So Oregon will not be next, and I predict that like California, Iowa will amend their state constitution and knock down what the courts have done. The Democratic Party has a unique historical position to address universal health care, income inequality, a foreign policy of partnership and peace, and elimination of nuclear weapons. Moving gay marriage to the top of the list is not justified and will simply sabotage other issues with greater priority.

  • (Show?)

    Basic Rights spent millions playing defense against Measure 36 with no success. I believe that they should put a full equality amendment on the ballot every year until it passes, the same way that the Women's suffragists did. It took them 5 times to finally pass their bill, but they did it -- 8 years before the Federal Government.

    I will personally volunteer to gather signatures for this.

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    Bill R, I didn't realize that treating all people equally under the law wasn't a priority for this country. What a shame, this whole time I thought I was living in America.

  • Walter H (unverified)
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    Oregon's constitution begins with: Section 1. Natural rights inherent in people. We declare that all men, when they form a social compact are equal in right: that all power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety, and happiness; and they have at all times a right to alter, reform, or abolish the government in such manner as they may think proper.

    Our constitution guarantees people are equal. Repealing the section put in by Measure 36 should be paramount, since it is inherently juxtaposed to Section 1 of the Oregon Constitution.

    You know, it was unpopular in the South to free the slaves. And it was unpopular in many parts of the country when interracial marriage was made legal. Why should we wait until things are "popular"; we should do things because they are just.

  • Bruce (unverified)
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    Look at all the "Bible people" COMING OUT of the woodwork! They love the Bible so much they're doing all in their power to help fulfill it (and make it even more believable!). In Luke 17 in the New Testament, Jesus said that one of the big "signs" that will happen shortly before His return to earth as Judge will be a repeat of the "days of Lot" (see Genesis 19 for details). So gays are actually hurrying up the same worldwide "sign" and thus hurrying up the return of their own Judge! They are accomplishing what all of the Bible-thumpers couldn't accomplish! Gays couldn't have accomplished this by just coming out of closets into bedrooms. Instead, they invented new architecture - you know, closets opening on to Main Streets where little kids would be able to watch naked men having sex with each other. Thanks, gays, for figuring out how to bring back out resurrected Saviour even quicker! Bruce

  • Douglas K. (unverified)
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    If Nate Silver is correct (and he's got a really good track record thus far), Oregon would be ready to repeal Measure 36 right now.

    We should go for it. There is a progressive grass-roots infrastructure that simply was not in place in 2004. ActBule.con, for example, makes national fund-raising fairly easy. We will have six years of demographic shift; six years of our oldest voters (the most strongly opposed to marriage equality) dying off, and six years of our youngest voters (the most supportive) joining the voting rolls. Between aggressive voter registration and get-out-the-vote efforts, it's really just a question of getting supportive voters to return their ballots.

    We also will face a different political landscape than in 2004. Back then, marriage equality seemed like a scary thing to a lot of people. Some of them are still scared, but a lot of Americans have had a chance to see it in action. After seeing gay couples married in Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, Iowa, and Vermont (and any other states that might approve marriage equality in the next year), it's no longer some weird, radical thing. The ongoing national conversation is swaying hearts and minds.

    All told, this adds up to a good chance of success.

    I should also point out that there won't be a lot of competition for progressive donations and volunteers in Oregon in 2010. Senator Wyden will be running for re-election, but he's unlikely to face serious opposition. There will be a governor's race, but the Republican bench looks pretty week right now. The legislature might put some tax reform initiatives in front of the voters. There probably will be more Sizemore measures (or Mannix or McIntyre or others) to fight. But overall, it should be a pretty good year for a progressive ballot measure, and marriage equality really is a no-brainer.

    Of course, the bigots will be playing defense and trying to mobilize their own dwindling base. We can't take victory for granted. But it's attainable next year. There's no up side to playing it safe and waiting for a surer thing. And heck, even defeat would be a step in the right direction: if opposition to marriage equality was 58-42 in 2004 and 52-48 in 2010, that simply means "almost there ... try again."

  • Oregon Bill (unverified)
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    Karol needs to start this process at her very own Catholic church...

    She and her fellow "progressive" congregants regularly fill the collection plates at St. Andrews, Holy Names, Holy Family, which goes directly into the coffers of the Catholic Archdiocese of Portland - the NUMBER ONE FINANCIAL SUPPORTER OF "YES ON 36..."

    And my family is tired of this glaring hypocrisy, and also tired of silly baseless religious prejudice emanating from these child abusing, misogynist, special underwear clad Catholics, Mormons and other bigoted Christians who continue to draw support from Portland's "friendly" and "progressive" congregations...

    Karol's church needs to witness the evident humanity and equality of my family, too, and understand that amending state constitutions in order to overturn the guarantee of equal protection - because their invisible three-part deity hates dykes! - is no longer acceptable behavior.

    And it shouldn't earn Karol's (or any other parishioner's) continued financial support.

    The words are so pretty. Now cut off the cash.

  • Hank Stern (unverified)
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    http://wweek.com/editorial/3522/12409/

  • Admiral Naismith (unverified)
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    Seems to me, Oregon's next big chance will come at the 2012 general election, when Progressives will turn out to re-elect President Obama. And we're going to need all of their votes.

    Over at fivethirtyeight.com, Nate Silver lists Oregon as one of eleven states that would not pass a gay marriage ban now.

    The problem is, Oregon has a substantial "the people have spoken" mentality that resists do-over elections. Witness what happened with Assisted Suicide, where attempts to repeal the law failed by bigger margins than assisted suicide had passed by in the first place. Some people don't even like assisted suicide, but voted against repealing it just on "no do-over" principles. Similarly, there will be some people who vote against repealing the gay marriage ban JUST because there's already been a vote.

    And if we have a repeal vote and it fails, there will be even more "no do-over" no votes the next time.

    So we have to choose the right election to attempt it.

    If we have to wait until 2012, then no I DON'T want Oregon to be next. I want a dozen or more other states to jump on the equality bandwagon in the meantime, to let our voters know that this is part of an inevitable trend similar to the passing of the stupid "miscegenation" laws of the last century.

  • Admiral Naismith (unverified)
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    Gays couldn't have accomplished this by just coming out of closets into bedrooms. Instead, they invented new architecture - you know, closets opening on to Main Streets where little kids would be able to watch naked men having sex with each other.

    Huh?

    Oh, right. This must be a joke. Please, let it be a joke.

    Being lectured by Catholics on protecting kids from inappropriate sex is like being lectured by Michael Vick on care and feeding of my dog.

  • Vince (unverified)
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    Hi Karol, nice post, I thought that video was interesting. Leave it to Vermont and Iowa to be the most progressive states in our nation. Whether you call it Gay Marriage or Civil Union, the basic premise is that every person should have equal rights. It’s good to see that some states are progressing, I made a list on my site of the states I think will legalize Gay Marriage first: http://www.toptentopten.com/topten/first+states+that+will+legalize+gay+marriage

  • Bruce (unverified)
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    Just Google or Yahoo "Zombietime" and click on "Up Your Alley Fair" if you think I'm kidding. And who's to say this can't happen on public streets around the world? Bruce

  • Bob R. (unverified)
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    Bruce, just Google "mardi gras" or "spring break" and see what heterosexuals do on public streets around the world. Your argument is completely irrelevant and does not create a distinction.

    Religious conservative: Someone obsessively concerned and distressed that someone else might, somewhere, somehow, be having a good time.

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    Bill R - The public will never support full equality until the issue is put in front of them and advocated for in an affirnative fashion on a regular basis. As to this business about full equality damaging "higher priority" issues...

    Higher priority for whom?

    Justice delayed for 40-50 years is justice denied for millions of our fellow citizens.

  • Oregon Bill (unverified)
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    Study Finds Fewer Catholics In New England http://www.courant.com/news/local/hc-religion0310.artmar10,0,890045.story

    And almost no Mormons!

    Hmmm...perhaps there's a connection?

    It's time to stop giving money to St. Andrews, Holy Family, Holy Names, etc...

    Otherwise, our top opponent of equality (the Catholic Archdiocese of Portland) will have plenty of money (YOUR money) to keep holding gay and lesbian families down.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    @ Karol

    Maybe you have a job, and maybe you have something to eat and a roof over your head, and maybe you have health care, and maybe you don't think nuclear war with Iran is a real possibility, but frankly I consider all those things more important than whether you can get married to your partner or not.

  • Douglas K. (unverified)
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    The problem is, Oregon has a substantial "the people have spoken" mentality that resists do-over elections. Witness what happened with Assisted Suicide, where attempts to repeal the law failed by bigger margins than assisted suicide had passed by in the first place.

    This won't be much of a problem. First, it would be six years later; it's not like we "just voted on it" last November. Six years is enough time for people to reconsider their previous vote. Second, the resistance to "do-overs" is most evident when the legislature sends back a measure for a do-over. It would likely be different when it's a citizen-driven initiative.

    In fact, it's for exactly that reason that I think the repeal measure needs to come from the people, not the legislature. If citizens circulate a petition to put repeal on the ballot, it won't come across like "the politicians" weren't listening.

  • Marshall Collins (unverified)
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    Bill R. My partner has been out of work since he was laid off back in August. He has no insurance. The insurance I get from my company is crap at best ($500 out of pocket to have a Dr shoot super glue into a finger that I cut and send me home) We do have food and a roof....for the time being anyways. I do fear nuclear war with a few different countries. BUT...I still think being able to marry my partner and have that marriage count in all 50 states, as our constitution mandates, is just as important as all of those other things. I am a citizen of America damnit! The country that bills itself as the first and greatest democracy in the world. Living up to that reputation will only help us solve our other problems. Yeah, there are a ton of issues that need to be worked on right now but I firmly hold the belief that people are able to walk and chew gum at the same time.

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    What about the first section of the State Constitution as quoted above by Walter H.? "We declare that all men, when they form a social compact are equal in right..."

    How can M36 be constitutional? Is anyone suing to have it struck down?

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    Bill,

    So your position is that we should wait to work on gay marriage until we have eliminated poverty and homelessness and have acheived world peace?

    I'm grateful that the suffragists and the abolitionists didn't share your perspective.

    I'm all for being strategic, but I don't see that you have made any kind of case for your argument that a gay marriage ballot initiative would interfere with achieving those other things.

  • Oregon Bill (unverified)
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    How can M36 be constitutional? Is anyone suing to have it struck down?

    It's constitutional in Oregon because Catholics and Mormons (and many other religious Christians) voted for and/or gave money to support the ballot measure campaign to AMEND our state constitution...

    Of course it does contradict the "equal protection" clause, so a fair reading of the federal constitution (that is, without imposition of religious prejudice by those five Catholic men on the current Supreme Court) should overturn it.

    There is a precedent, of course: religious voters in many states had already amended their state constitutions when the US Supreme Court struck down anti-miscegenation amendments with their decision permitting interracial marriage in 1967.

    But once again, the roadblock here is religion - particularly those who continue to support Catholic and Mormon churches (and the Albina Ministerial Alliance, etc...).

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    Posted by: Ed Bickford | Apr 8, 2009 11:35:34 AM

    Measure 36 was a constitutional amendment. Iowa's law was only statutory, which is why it was struck down, the constitution takes precedence over statutory laws. But since Measure 36 amended the constitution, it's constitutional by default. I'm not a legal scholar, but I can't imagine on what grounds a court could overturn M36.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    In this debate about gay marriage it is notable that gays want to get into an institution that 50% of heteros want to get out of eventually. The reality is that government sanctioned marriage is a falsehood, and a failure. Marriage is a matter of human relations and not law. I would like to see us move to a policy of civil union for everyone with appropriate legal protections and responsibilities that , and leave marriage in the realm of a spiritual covenant of human relations and not a matter of government regulation.

    And the righteousness argument really carries little weight. If those who call themselves progressive want to return to marginalized minority status issue and have the Mike Huckabees and the Rush Limbaughs of the world running our country, then have at it. The political ineptness of Basic Rights Oregon and its effete leaders should be a lesson for all of us. The utterly stupid move of using the backdoor coup in Multnomah County to legalize gay marriage resulted in an oppressive constitutional ban on gay marriage. It managed to reinforce every paranoid right wing talking point about the "homosexual agenda." I stopped contributing to Basic Rights Oregon after that. I was willing to support them when gays were being hounded by the O.C.A. But when they insisted on using my money to be stupid and inept and aid the right wing cause, that was the end.

    So all of the cheer leaders here.... Who is the statewide or national leader who is going to stand up and legalize gay marriage, here in Oregon, or nationally? No one.. and with good reason, because such a person could not, and will not win an election. So for now the matters of economic justice and survival far outweigh the questionable "right" to have the government recognize a contract between persons that very few honor anyway. So you can all sit around in your restaurants and coffee houses and talk about what's fair, but the average Oregonian over the kitchen table could care less until there is a change in consciousness in the barrier between gay and straight, and an empathy that flows both directions.

  • paul (unverified)
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    I know that every religious person gets painted very poorly because of debates like this where the VERY vocal minority uses the Bible as their reason for their bigitry. Please keep in mind that there are A LOT of religious people who very much are for gay marriage. You won't find those type of people in churches where you are not allowed to think for yourself and must except what the pope, or some other supreme authorty says as the final word on everything. There are other religions that allow people to read the Bible and intrepret it for themseleves. Most of these people tend much more towards an inclusive world where gay marriage would be excepted. Just please stop paining ALL religious people as the same as these LOUD voices.

  • Oregon Bill (unverified)
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    I'm not a legal scholar, but I can't imagine on what grounds a court could overturn M36.

    It would require a decision by the US Supreme Court.

    It's too bad that our former Attorney General, Hardy Myers, did so little to defend gay and lesbian Oregonians from selective denial of our basic civil rights.

    But then again, the leading proponent of this assault was the Catholic Archdiocese of Portland, where Mr. Myers contributed to the collection plate (and therefore to the successful "Yes on 36" campaign) on many a pleasant Sunday morning...

    Thanks all you progressive parishioners at St. Andrews, Holy Family, Holy Names..!

    You're the reason Vermont puts Oregon to shame.

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    Bill R. has a right to his cynicism and defeatism, but today is a different day on the political scene.

    When the bonehead move to force the right-to-marry equality was made in Multnomah County, the Bushies had us running scared from the terrorist bogeyman. They had convinced the body-politic that "everything had changed" and changed so an authoritarian government was justified. Unitary presidency indeed! AKA tyrrany. That is viewed now with a justly jaundiced eye.

    So we cannot depend upon a powerful political leader to advance the cause of equality? When could we ever? The leaders are just those that find themselves confronted with the parade of activists and seizes the baton to "lead" the groundswell. Don't belittle those who care enough to "sit around in your restaurants and coffee houses and talk about what's fair", as they are the only hope we have to right the ship of state.

  • Bob R. (unverified)
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    "In this debate about gay marriage it is notable that gays want to get into an institution that 50% of heteros want to get out of eventually"

    The thing is, Bill, for those 50% of heteros, marriage laws provide a means for an exit which considers the care and well-being of children, the disposition of joint property, the sharing of future income, the provision of a fair hearing, mediation, etc.

    The system for divorce is messy and doesn't always work well, but the alternative is a mess of independent contracts which would wind up in court anyway as lawsuits between the parties in a divorce. Since acrimonious divorce proceedings are going to wind up at the doorstep of the state anyway, the state has an interest in providing a common framework for ending a marriage.

    These legal frameworks for the ending of a marriage actually provide a degree of stability and reduce uncertainty. You know going in what your options are.

    Sam-sex couples and their families have been denied these frameworks for generations, and are only now just barely beginning to get access to them.

    A patchwork of occasional civil unions and marriages which aren't federally recognized is not the answer... try telling hetero couples that they aren't legally protected in their relationship should one or both of them cross the wrong state line.

    Try telling a hetero soldier who gets married overseas that they can't bring their spouse back home to the USA.

    There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of rights, procedures, and frameworks which are taken for granted by hetero couples, married or not, which provide for stability and security for relationships and families.

    That's what same-sex couples rightfully demand access to.

  • jamie (unverified)
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    "In this debate about gay marriage it is notable that gays want to get into an institution that 50% of heteros want to get out of eventually"

    Not so. I want equal rights. That means the right to get into an institution, or the right to stay out of it, at my discretion. Right now I have no such right and no such discretion; this is all being determined for me. That's why I want a change.

  • Douglas K. (unverified)
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    I'm not a legal scholar, but I can't imagine on what grounds a court could overturn M36.

    Procedural grounds. The argument would be that it's a "revision" rather than an "amendment" and therefore needed to come from the legislature, instead of being initiated by citizens through the petition process. Basically, it would be: "we're striking it down because you did it the wrong way."

    I think that challenge failed in Oregon. It's currently before the California supreme court. We'll see if they come up with a different answer.

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    "frankly I consider all those things more important than whether you can get married to your partner or not."

    I would guess that's probably because you already have the option they seek

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    @ Bob R.

    The legal arrangements you refer to might just as easily be taken care of in a civil union law.

    @ Torrid Joe The point I was making is the premise that writer here assumes the basic needs are being met, a person has the income, the health care, a place to live, a sense of basic security from violence. In the hierarchy of needs getting government sanction of your domestic partnership is far down on the list. And if you are trying to convince a majority of Americans to care about gay marriage, why should they care, when the basic needs aren't being met or are being threatened, in our current economic crisis. Why should they care? All of this simply plays into the hands of the right wing and their labeling of gay rights as a liberal elitist issue. Your attempt to diss me as being unfair or unconcerned is an argument that just doesn't play outside the Portland/Eugene set. What about the right to have a food on the table, or healthcare, or shelter, or education for your kids? Why is gay marriage front and center for liberals when whole communities, indeed most of our country, is going down the toilet. Timing is everything in politics, and gay marriage might be big stuff in some circles right now, but not in electoral politics. And if you push it, you will pay the price, and a heavy price of failure.

  • Marshall Collins (unverified)
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    I don't see anywhere in her post that Karol assumed that all was right and well in the world and that Gay marrige is the only thing that we had left to do to reach our utopia. I see an article expressing happiness that an issue that many people find as important as any other issue is making headway. Hierarchy? I don't see one. All of the issues you listed above are threats to our citizens life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Inequality in marriage is a threat to those principles as well and can be "worked on" at the same time as everything else. We have 535 congress members, 2 exectuive branch officers. All of which have giant pools of staff. 50 governors and thousands of state and local leaders and millions of concerned citizens. Your telling me that with all of these people working to make our country better we can't handle more than 4 or 5 important issues at a time without shooting ourselves in the foot? I prefer to take a much more optimistic view. Yes we we can chew gum and walk. All at the same time

  • Oregon Bill (unverified)
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    Did you know that Catholics believe marriage involves THREE "persons?" See Archbishop John Vlazny's comments in this Catholic News Agency press release from 2004. Maybe this explains the strong bond between Oregon's Catholics and Mormons in opposing basic civil rights for all Americans..?

    <hr/>

    Oregon Catholic board lends support to ballot against same-sex marriage

    Sep 10, 2004 / 12:00 am (CNA).- The Oregon Catholic Conference is expected to support a ballot that would ban same-sex marriage when its board meets today, reported The Oregonian.

    Measure 36 on the Nov. 2 ballot would amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, and it would recognize marriage only between a man and a woman.

    The Church’s support of this ballot comes as no surprise since Archbishop John Vlazny of Portland has been outspoken about the sanctity of the sacrament marriage – as the union of one man and one woman – from an early on in the same-sex marriage debate.

    In a column in the diocesan Catholic Sentinel April 15, the archbishop wrote that marriage "no longer involves two persons, but three, husband, wife and the Lord…There simply is no sacramental marriage without a man and a woman."

    The Oregon Catholic Conference represents the state's 425,000 Catholics. Its board includes Archbishop Vlazny, Bishop Robert F. Vasa, Bishop Kenneth Steiner and Fr. Dennis O'Donovan.

    The Catholic Church will be joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in supporting the measure. The Mormons already issued a statement Wednesday saying their church "favors a constitutional amendment preserving marriage as a lawful union of a man and a woman." There are 139,507 Mormons in Oregon.

    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=1921

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    So, 'Oregon Bill' do you think you need to foment hatred of fundamentalist religion to advance your case for equal rights? I doubt anyone needs convincing that their stance is stuck in the Middle Ages. You are invested in making them your enemy, making things worse.

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    In the hierarchy of needs getting government sanction of your domestic partnership is far down on the list. And if you are trying to convince a majority of Americans to care about gay marriage, why should they care, when the basic needs aren't being met or are being threatened, in our current economic crisis. Why should they care?

    As Obama has noted, I AM my brother's keeper. When a child on the South Side of Chicago gets a shit education, it should concern everyone.

    Seeing as how the government sanction of the partnership provides a significant set of economic and social advantages, it's a lot more pivotal than you may realize--again, apparently because you've never not been able to avail yourself of it.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    @ Marshall Collins

    I believe Karol was advocating more ballot measures, not federal action. And the right wing just loves gay marriage issues on the ballot, it brings in the money and the voters in droves.

    That said, I'll make a bet. In the 2010 election, you're not going to see a single federal or statewide official run on a pro-gay marriage platform. Why? Because it's political suicide.

    And when you have people like those on this list who think you win people over to the cause by attacking religion, it solidifies the case against gay marriage.

  • Ian McDonald (unverified)
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    Why is gay marriage front and center for liberals when whole communities, indeed most of our country, is going down the toilet.

    I can think of a few items on the progressive wish list that should be questioned in this way.

    But not this one. It's moving on its own timetable, and it's moving very fast.

    I would submit that the fight against gay marriage is the artifact of economic over-indulgence.

  • meg (unverified)
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    Homosexuality is not allowed in Islam. There are various verses in Quran where Allah clearly says about Homosexuality.

    We also (sent) Lut: he said to his people: "Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation (ever) committed before you? "For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds." - Holy Quran 7:80-81

    "Of all the creatures in the world will ye approach males". "And leave those whom Allah has created for you to be your mates? Nay ye are a people transgressing (all limits)!" - Holy Quran 26:165-166

    The end result for not giving up homosexuality was the destruction of entire cities

    When Our decree issued We turned (the cities) upside down and rained down on them brimstones hard as baked clay spread layer on layer Marked as from thy Lord: nor are they ever far from those who do wrong! - Holy Quran 11:82-83

    1.2 billion cant be wrong

  • Marshall Collins (unverified)
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    Your right Bill, Karol is advocating a bm. And I am all for it. The right wing in this state especially did use the ballot to accomplish a lot of their political motives. But people are starting to wise up and if 2006 and 2008 are any indication soon the ballot in Oregon will be more of a tool for progressives to use. We handed the right a spanking on the ballots over the last couple of cycles and they are losing steam. Let's fill in those gaps with more progressive measures. Like we have just recently seen. If it were a campaign that was done from the ground up with as much fervor and excitement as we can muster we win. We will have the money and and man power to turn out MORE people to the ballot than the other side.

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    Thank you, Karol....I would have commented earlier, but I was busy with other good causes....

    I think it is exactly because of Oregon's previous fights that we need to have this fight now. Basic Rights Oregon is perhaps the strongest and most skilled glbt organization in the nation specifically because it's been fighting for so long...we can win this fight because in Oregon, we all know where we stand (regardless of where)...it's just time to move people into action.

    In 1988, the state approved the first OCA ballot measure by about 52%...then, the citizens in Oregon woke up and rejected measure after measure after measure. Until m36. Since then, we've see activists across the country winning the fight -- we will win our fight too, just like we've beat back so many OCA measures.

    And for those who think this isn't a pressing economic issue, you might ask if the glbt couples, who aren't afforded hundreds of economic benefits because of their lack of rights, feel the same way.

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    The reason the plight of the GLBT community rankles me so is that they are persecuted by conservatives as incapable of forming stable relationships, yet when they call for recognition of the family they make they are rejected for making one according to their own nature. A Catch-22 gotcha... it's just inhuman.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    An interesting discussion in all. As a life long Oregonian who's lived in all parts of the state I think we're a long way from approving gay marriage in this state. But I don't think we will get there by slamming religion nor churches, nor by asserting a kind of moral or cultural superiority, nor by court decisions. We will get there eventually by making the case and educating the public that gay marriage is a social and economic good. The passing of generations and the change in consciousness that we are witnessing will hasten that change. This discussion thread tells me that gay marriage advocates need a change in strategy, and a change in message in order to implement that kind of public education.

  • Oregon Bill (unverified)
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    You are invested in making them your enemy, making things worse.

    They ARE my enemy.

    Amending the state constitution to selectively deny my family a basic civil right does not make you my friend.

    Dropping money in the collection plate at St. Andrews, so the Archdiocese can spend it on a successful political campaign that diminished my family's legal status, does nothing to advance equality - or make you my friend.

    And coddling the religious, respecting the religious, tiptoeing gently around the religious - folks who have no serious arguments to support their prejudice (their "arguments" are, in fact, patently ridiculous) - that hasn't gotten us very far...

  • Oregon Bill (unverified)
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    ...and when smart, educated, "progressive" Catholics and Mormons actually see gay families, lesbian families, with our kids and our involvement and our contributions and our reality, they are ultimately going to get embarrassed by their weird ass prejudiced churches and either reject them or convince them to change.

    It is not a coincidence that states with fewer Catholics and Mormons now offer marriage equality, while states with more Catholics and Mormons (and money poured into political campaigns from Catholics and Mormons, even nice, progressive ones) are like shameful Oregon, with its mangled constitution.

    Religion is the core problem here - and until we make evidence-free supernatural fatwas against the rights of fellow citizens the sick and pathetic joke that they are, Oregon is going to be known as a lot less progressive than Vermont. Or Iowa!

    Thanks St. Andrews! Thanks Karol! Oh again, the words are so pretty. But it's way past time that a lot more of you, however, stopped the flow of church money...

  • johnnie (unverified)
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    Oregon Bill your anti-Catholicism is as old as the State of Oregon itself. The history of Oregon attacking Catholics is long, torrid and sad. The fact that you won't attack Islam, Buddism, and other religions for their same principles is telling. Man up. Don't pick out a few in the crowd to beat up and ignore other religions or the African Americans who secured the passing of Prop 8 in California. Your selected rants masks for bigotry and hatred that you claim to abhor.

    The fact is that government issues marriage licenses are a mixture of Church and State. I say separate Church and State. There is no reason for government to be in the marriage business. Legal contracts are more than enough to clarify the secular issues governments are needed for judging.

    Get the Government out of religion and religion out of Government.

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    Bill R, I'll happily take that bet. And when goobernatorial candidate Steve Novick declares, and once again puts same sex marriage into his platform explicitly, how much can I expect to collect from you? And while I still don't believe him (he may find it politically safer all of a sudden), it apparently wasn't suicide for Jeff Merkley, US Senator.

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    Oregon Bill wrote: "And coddling the religious, respecting the religious, tiptoeing gently around the religious - folks who have no serious arguments to support their prejudice (their "arguments" are, in fact, patently ridiculous) - that hasn't gotten us very far..."

    You're wrong, Bill. Compared to America's other major civil rights movements (women and racial minorities), the LGBT movement has and continues to progress at a very steady clip.

    You will never convince me (and many others) that showing respect for others beliefs, especially when we disagree, is bad political strategy.

    The realpolitik is that an overtly hostile, "they ARE my enemy" approach alienates allies, hardens opposition, and fuels counter-reaction ... even if the hyperbolic projectile feels good.

    We have good reason to feel pissed. That doesn't turn self-indulgence into sound political strategy, though.

  • Oregon Bill (unverified)
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    Oregon Bill your anti-Catholicism is as old as the State of Oregon itself.

    I have never once donated money to an organization that worked hard and successfully to amend the state constitution in order to selectively deny rights to Oregon Catholics.

  • Oregon Bill (unverified)
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    You will never convince me (and many others) that showing respect for others beliefs, especially when we disagree, is bad political strategy.

    Oh Leo - when Catholics and Mormons reference invisible spirits as their argument for amending state and federal constitutions to selectively erase a basic constitutional right for my family, these arguments (which are baseless, and nuts) do not deserve any thinking, progressive person's respect.

    You really want to get rid of Measure 36? Then ** FOLLOW THE MONEY.

    Because launching a new ballot measure campaign will be met ONCE AGAIN with a major political effort bankrolled by the Catholic Archdiocese of Portland and the Mormon Church. So stop supporting these nutty institutions.

    Their prejudice does not deserve anybody's respect.

  • Oregon Bill (unverified)
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    The fact that you won't attack Islam, Buddism, and other religions for their same principles is telling. Man up. Don't pick out a few in the crowd to beat up and ignore other religions or the African Americans who secured the passing of Prop 8 in California.

    I'm not ignoring them - there are certainly a lot of Black Portlanders in the Albina Community Alliance who contributed to Yes on 36. And plenty of evangelical Christian churches raised money as well. Though given their numbers, I doubt that Buddhists or Muslims made much of an impact either way...

    But THE NUMBER ONE FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTOR TO YES ON 36 WAS THE CATHOLIC ARCHDIOCESE OF PORTLAND. They attacked my family, and did so successfully. And Karol and other Catholic parishioners, who are so thrilled to see progress in Iowa and Vermont (yeah! sweetness! I'm glad glad for you guys! Oh we can make it happen here!) helped * PAY for this successful Catholic assault on equality in Oregon...

    So let's be very, very clear: Catholics attacked my family FIRST. I've never once worked to deprive any Catholics of their basic civil rights. And they are undoubtedly gearing up for a new attack on me, and on my family, should an effort be launched to restore equal marriage rights in Oregon...

    That effort, and the religious arguments that propel that effort, deserve no respect.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    I too would like to see the government totally out of the sanctioning marriage business. Marriage is a religious and cultural institution that governments have just mucked up. Who gives a rat's bald behind who someone sleeps with (as long as it isn't a child)?

    That being said, there are true questions of priority in place that should be considered. Progressives, like our President appear to be suffering from a case of political Attention Deficit Disorder; unable to focus on any one thing through to completion.

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    Alas 'O' Bill, you will find few allies in Oregon, gay or straight, willing join in your crusade to return hate and bigotry to the benighted few you obsess upon. Nixon had his enemies list, "W" had his terrorist watch list, welcome to their club.

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    Oregon Bill wrote: "Oh Leo - when Catholics and Mormons reference invisible spirits as their argument for amending state and federal constitutions to selectively erase a basic constitutional right for my family, these arguments (which are baseless, and nuts) do not deserve any thinking, progressive person's respect."

    I disagree. Cultural taboos against homosexuality are rooted in ancient fears around species survival. A significant amount of the "scriptures" of the ancient desert religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) are cross-generational "how to survive in the desert" messages. Oral tribal wisdom, eventually written down.

    I sincerely respect the moral and spiritual teachings which exist in the scriptures of these religions (deserts exist within and without). I also respect that our planet is now wildly over-populated, and human behaviors which limit reproduction (homosexuality, birth control, etc.) which would have threatened tribal existence thousands of years ago, no longer do. There's a reason why predominantly homosexual cultures in ancient Greece nonetheless maintained a duty to procreate. This cultural split between sex for fun, friendship, and love and sex for procreation still widely exists, hidden in the shadows of many cultures, including our own.

    So, if I demonstrate respect for others' beliefs, while also appealing to their rational mind along the lines above, my experience (with my large, extended, conservative, rural Roman Catholic family) is that I consistently win people over, or at least neutralize their former hostility.

    And that's what I am talking about: political efficacy over self-gratification. I would much rather have folks like the St. Andrew's parishioners working on the inside of the Roman Catholic church - a very large and internally diverse organization, heading towards schism - than rant from the outside, as yet another gay man cast out of his family's faith as less than fully welcome.

  • Oregon Bill (unverified)
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    Alas 'O' Bill, you will find few allies in Oregon, gay or straight

    Aha, Mr. Ed - I can't argue the point, so let's compare the guy to W!
    (Maybe that will distract 'em..!)

    Once again: 1. St. Andrews parishioner fills the collection plate 2. Their money funds Archdiocese efforts to selectively deny basic civil rights

    Solution: Stop filling the collection plate until Archdiocese efforts (based on utter nonsense) stop

  • Oregon Bill (unverified)
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    I would much rather have folks...working on the inside of the Roman Catholic church - a very large and internally diverse organization, heading towards schism - than rant from the outside, as yet another gay man cast out of his family's faith as less than fully welcome.

    And I would clearly rather speed the schism, and tell that young man how goofy religious arguments from unmarried, creepy, scientifically illiterate, child abusing old men in ruby slippers don't actually amount to a hill of beans.

    If these churches shrink, and fewer buy their prejudice, if we can engage their "arguments" and point out how the emperor has no clothes, there will be fewer awful Catholic families eager to cast young gay men (and women) out in the first place.

    **** And there will be a lot less money for ballot measure campaigns aimed at depriving my family of basic civil rights.

    Come on St. Andrews parishioners. Ancient fears of species survival, Greeks procreating, cultural splits between sex for fun and profit - can we enter the 21st century now?

    **** Please stop filling the collection plate with money used to disenfranchise your gay and lesbian neighbors, colleagues, family and friends. Then we'll make progress.

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    Oregon Bill, that "young man" is myself, and I'm not exactly young any longer, at 42. And, I would compare my depth of experience with the Roman Catholic church - and Knights of Columbus - with any gay man, including yourself. For the record, I do not attend St. Andrews, nor consider myself Roman Catholic any longer.

    I regret you seem not to understand the points I'm making, Bill. We'll just need to agree that there's a diversity of views in the LGBT community on the value of religion, spirituality, compassion, and mutual respect despite differences, and otherwise disagree.

  • Dave (unverified)
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    I think it is very concerning that judges and legislatures are overruling the vote and voice of the people. Doesn't this concern anyone else? From what I understand, the government is supposed to be for the people not overriding the people and canceling out our opinions and silencing our freedoms. This whole homosexual rights debate has shown one thing very clearly to me and that is that our leaders are corrupt and have taken the control of government out of our hands. The leaders are makeing laws according to their homosexual lobbyists and special interests groups. Most people knew this was happening to some extent, but now the government leaders are throwing pie in our faces saying "you the people" have no say in your government or voice in defining your constitution or rights. "You are slaves of the state." This is shocking that our leaders have gone to this extreme. The majority of Americans support marriage as only between one man and one woman and do not want to hear or see anything more about homosexuality, bestiality, sodomy, pedophilia, or any other deviant sexual behaviors, etc. Let's take back the government and let the people decide these issues, not activist judges.

  • Idaho River Journeys (unverified)
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    Amending the state constitution to selectively deny my family a basic civil right does not make you my friend.

    Under the "attractive nuisance" case law, your family has caused actionable grief. Get it though your Nederthal skull. Failing to continue to promote your beliefs, and persecuting those that don't share them, doesn't constitute denying you anything but parochial privilege. And coincidentally, you're banging on like that's exactly what's happening.

  • Pope Pie Ass LXIX (unverified)
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    Oregon Bill has a very good point. Even sleazy Bill Sizemore can't get away with simulataneously not being financially responsible and funding new initiatives. You want a sanity check on "does the Catholic Church get a bye"? Think about the News Hour. How many times have you heard an archbishop explain why "the lifestyle" is morally objectionable? Would they EVER have a representative of a hate group give the exact same thesis?

    As always, it's because we don't have proportional representation, and they are 1/4 of the electorate. Enter the 21st century on sexual matters? Just what else have we entered the 21st century on, save consumer electronics? For a species that is still a slave to its biological drives, won't that be last?

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    Dave wrote: "The majority of Americans ... do not want to hear or see anything more about homosexuality"

    Oh? Then why was Will and Grace a #1 TV show for several of its eight seasons on the air, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy a recent major hit, and why is a gay man currently kicking butt on American Idol (based on massive nationwide live voting)?

    I don't think "majority" means what you seem to think it means, Dave.

    Regardless, if you want to vote the Equal Protection Clause out of the United States Constitution, it takes more than a simple majority vote. Democracy does not mean mob rule.

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    How's this for an Amendment?

    Article XV, Section 5a. Policy regarding marriage. It is the policy of Oregon, and its political subdivisions, that only a marriage between one man and one woman domestic partnerships shall be valid or legally recognized as a marriage.

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    Better still:

    Article XV, Section 5a. Policy regarding marriage. It is the policy of Oregon, and its political subdivisions, that only a marriage between one man and one woman domestic partnerships shall be valid or legally recognized as  a  marriage.

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    Or this?

    Article XV, Section 5a. Policy regarding marriage. It is the policy of Oregon, and its political subdivisions, that only a marriage between one man and one woman two persons shall be valid or legally recognized as a marriage.
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    No one is knocking religion -- we're just trying to make it conform to its purpose: peace and goodwill. Organized religion -- religious organizations -- is another story.

    Many comments above have railed out on those who give money to organizations such as the Catholic Church and the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints and they are quite right to do so since these organizations fight hard to deny peace and goodwill -- and God's love. Both of these organizations need to be challenged to spend more of their money fruitlessly battling equality!

    With regard to architecture and closets opening onto the streets and wild sex, etc: bullshit. For thousands of years the wingnuts have repeated this calumny and thus stimulated the behaviors in the shadows that they decry. Now, finally, gays and lesbians are moving toward relationships as the rule and profligacy as the exception. Society should welcome this move towards stability -- and it will if we keep up the pressure.

  • Oregon Bill (unverified)
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    And, I would compare my depth of experience with the Roman Catholic church - and Knights of Columbus - with any gay man, including yourself.

    Leo -

    I am truly sorry that you had such a terrible experience with your Catholic family, but I'd like to be clear about how totally unacceptable it is to reference invisible, baseless supernatural gods to beat you down and most recently, take away our basic constitutional rights.

    And they do this - the Catholics do this (along with others, but the Catholics were the number one financial backers of this effort here in Oregon) by raising money from their parishioners, including parishioners at Karol's Catholic church.

    And honestly, if I belonged to a religious organization that took my money to orchestrate a successful ballot measure campaign that amended our constitution to deny Karol and other Black women the right to vote, assemble, marry, etc., I would be utterly and instantly appalled. I would speak out and withhold money, and if things didn't change quickly, I'd leave.

    That Karol, and so many other "progressive" Catholics (and Mormons, and Christians) can sit back and joyfully call for marriage equality after actually funding a successful effort to destroy marriage equality is an act of cognitive dissonance I'm not able to grasp.

    And until Karol sees this connection, and her role here, and the role of her church, she'll blithely contribute her dollars to the NEXT effort to beat my family - and your family - down. And we'll lag behind Iowa, and Vermont, and Massachusetts, and Connecticut, and Canada, and Sweden, and Spain - because of her failure to act.

  • LiberalIncarnate (unverified)
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    stop the assault, meg & Bill R.,

    First off, this is not a religious issue dorks. It is a civil issue. Period. Take a freaking class already.

    Second, to those that believe that domestic partnerships are equal to a marriage, may I trade my domestic partnership for your marriage? No? Why not?

    The fact is quite simple here: The Millennium Generation will decide in favor of Equal Marriage Rights. They are far more tolerant and accepting than anyone understands. When M36 passed many of them were not yet able to vote. By 2008, they were and... Obama won. He addressed their Web 2.0 style of thinking and becoming educated and involved. Conservatives just don't get it. The Millennium Generation does not want to be told what to do, they want to talk about what to do and resolve problems without fear or dogma.

    So, until there is total equality you will see this battle waged over and over again until the day you take your last breath. We WILL WIN.

  • Douglas K. (unverified)
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    Dave said:

    I think it is very concerning that judges and legislatures are overruling the vote and voice of the people. Doesn't this concern anyone else?

    No, not in the least. But then, I actually give a damn about my own rights.

    Dave: If you can get your mind around this idea, imagine that 99% of the people of Oregon vote to put an open sport-hunting season on the remaining 1%. Let's further imagine that YOU were part of the 1% that gets volunteered for "the most dangerous game" by all the rest. My guess? You'd go running to the nearest lawyer, head to court, and ask a judge to overrule the vote and voice of the people to say you can't be hunted down like an animal, no matter what the other 99% say.

    (Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe you'd say, "the people have spoken" and put your affairs in order. But I doubt it.)

    As much as you probably hate this fact, we live in a constitutional democracy. That means your basic rights aren't up to a public vote. Neither are anyone else's. And -- again, I'm sure you hate this -- marriage has been established in law as a fundamental right for a very long time now. That means it gets protected by law. So when a bigoted and stupid majority gets together and tries to vote away someone's basic rights ... well, a judge can step up and say. No. Because under the constitution we have a basic right to life. It doesn't matter if 99% of the people vote to sport-hunt the remaining 1%; the majority simply doesn't have that power.

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    Bill,

    I left behind absolutist thinking along with the Roman Catholic church, and I don't accept what appears to be yours any more than theirs.

    My point: attacking the progressive edge of the Roman Catholic church - as you do - makes no political sense whatsoever, even if I can sympathize with your righteous indignation. People supporting LGBT equality within the major religions, despite all opposition, should be offered open respect and support, not hostility. Personally, I am grateful for every ally we have, not just those whose theology happens to mirror my own.

    I hope we have the opportunity to discuss this more deeply in person sometime, as I don't think we're communicating very well in text.

  • amg503 (unverified)
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    There should be a separate kind of marriage, under a different name, but with the exact same benefits, that ONLY homosexuals can enter; no heterosexuals allowed. It seems to me that the biggest problem people have with "gay marriage" is "Marriage" (the word.)

    I do realize that this is sort of a "separate but equal" thing, but the current argument is not going anywhere, and will likely not go anywhere for quite some time.

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    We should respect marriage as the religious institution that it is, remove it from legislation, and provide Civil Unions for all. Anything else will ultimately run up against either the First or Fourteenth Amendments.

  • Brian (unverified)
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    @amg503,

    Yes, there already are domestic partneships to give aalmost all the rights, though without the requirtment for a cermoney and a few other things. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_partnership_in_Oregon

    It does say that they are only intended for use in Oregon, which is more significant as more states adopt gay marriage or civil union legestlation. Still, gay marriage/partnerships wont be recongnized at the Federal level as long as the Defende of Marriage Act signed by Clinton stands, as far as I know.

    I don`t want to sacrifice our ablity to get good legislation passed on health care, the economy, getting out of unwinnable and pointless wars, etc. for mere symbolism or close to it.

  • shut up and vote (unverified)
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    The way to resolve this issue is to vote on it. Get people and their traditionalist bigotry on the record!

    Your 'equal right' is to marry any member of the opposite sex. Think that is wrong...if this flies what is next...adults have an equal right to marry a minor? multiple people? an animal? an group of people? an inanimate object?

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    shut up and vote wrote: "The way to resolve this issue is to vote on it"

    Maybe we can agree here. If you can get the votes together to strip the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause from the United States Constitution, you may actually have a leg to stand on?

    Until then, please take a Civics 101 class. Neither statewide votes nor state or federal legislation trump the U.S. Constitution. Adams, Jefferson, and similar folks had quite a bit to say about this "tyranny of the majority" idea of yours, actually, if our nation's founding history means anything to you.

  • Ecoterrorist in the Oven (unverified)
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    1.2 billion cant be wrong

    Funny, 5 billion, or thereabouts, would say that their whelps are the most important thing in the world. Pure biology. Or are they "right"? I can certainly understand feeling that way, but can you really not see the difference between your impulses and enlightened policy? What am I saying?

    Oregon Bill is spot on. Less tiptoeing and more boot against the door when they slam it in our face!

  • Pope Pie Ass LXIX (unverified)
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    "Bill" is an inspiration. I got to thinking about it, and I went back to my old parish and donated and painted the eggs for the Easter Egg Hunt. They seemed surprised, though, that they weren't hard boiled!

  • Captain Jack Harkness (unverified)
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    Posted by: amg503 | Apr 10, 2009 3:46:14 PM

    There should be a separate kind of marriage, under a different name, but with the exact same benefits, that ONLY homosexuals can enter; no heterosexuals allowed. It seems to me that the biggest problem people have with "gay marriage" is "Marriage" (the word.)

    Uuummmm... I'm an omnisexual. When do I have to declare? Personally, I find the biggest barrier to lasting relationships is being immortal.

  • JT (unverified)
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    Ok seriously? I'm a staunch advocate for marriage equality. And I'm also a straight guy. So I defer to members of the LGBT community to make the decision on whether and how to run a ballot measure to win the freedom to marry.

    But I've never heard a gay person say to me "I want to put my human dignity up for a vote whether we win or lose. I don't mind losing a bunch of times - we'll win eventually..."

    Most folks I hear from are clear on this - on an issue of human rights and dignity, build the foundation needed to win then go to the ballot.

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