Here's a pair of interesting news items to set side-by-side.
Item 1. Over the weekend, Oregon GOP decided - in a narrow vote - to drop most (but not all) of the anti-gay language from its official party platform. While keeping a reference to marriage being between one man and one woman, the party dropped language that "essentially condemned same-sex marriage and civil unions, and that stated such couples were unfit to be parents", according to the O's Harry Esteve.
And yes, says spokesman Greg Leo, it's because they want to make a move toward being "more centrist", though later in the same story, he says they just wanted to drop the "more controversial" stuff.
It was a close vote, in an off-year convention, with a "bare majority" of the delegates in attendance approving the shift. We'll see if it sticks, or if there's a revolt in the ranks.
Item 2. Basic Rights Oregon has announced that it has assembled a broad and diverse group of community leaders to evaluate whether they should proceed with a 2012 ballot measure to overturn 2004's Measure 36. Keep in mind that while a number of states have legalized marriage equality, no state has done it through a vote of the people. Oregon would be first. Just Out has the story:
The advisory group will meet later this week to determine criteria for making the ballot measure decision, and will reconvene in late October to make a recommendation to BRO. In the meantime, the nonprofit, whose annual dinner is set for October 7, is launching a public survey where the LGBT community and allies can provide input about the ballot decision.
Oregonians, of course, aren't typically very happy about reconsidering measures they've already voted on; and yet public opinion on marriage equality has been moving fast. Political prognosticator Nate Silver wrote in the New York Times back in June that his numbers indicate that "55 percent of Oregonians would vote against a ban on same-sex marriage like the one the state’s voters approved in 2004."
On the jump, the full list of BRO's advisory group - according to Just Out...
Basic Rights Oregon Advisory Group
- Ken Allen, AFSCME Council 75
- Terry Bean, Community Leader
- BethAnne Darby, Oregon Education Association
- Caitlin Baggot, Bus Project
- Laura Calvo, Community Leader
- Rea Carey, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
- Antoinette Edwards, PFLAG Black Chapter
- Dave Fidanque, ACLU Oregon
- Helena Huang, Oregon Voice
- Kayse Jama, Center for Intercultural Organizing
- Michael Kaplan, Cascade AIDS Project
- Tina Kotek, State Representative
- Kevin Looper, Political Consultant
- Francisco Lopez, CAUSA
- Trent Lutz, Democratic Party of Oregon
- David Martinez, Community Leader
- Barbara McCullough-Jones, Portland Q Center
- Harriet Merrick, Eugene Community Leader
- Bruce Morris, Human Dignity Coalition in Bend
- Vickie & Lonnie Read, PFLAG Pendleton
- Paige Richardson, Political Consultant
- Joseph Santos-Lyons, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon
- Cara Shufelt, Rural Organizing Project
- Bill Smith, Civitas Public Affairs
- Jeanne St. John, PFLAG Central Coast
- Leslie Stone, Southern Oregon Community Leader
- Arthur Towers, SEIU Local 503
- Rob Wagner, American Federation of Teachers, Oregon
- Mark Wiener, Political Consultant
- Reverend Tara Wilkins, Community of Welcoming Congregations
- Evan Wolfson, Freedom to Marry
(Organizations are listed for identification purposes only and are not intended to reflect any organizational endorsements)
By Kari Chisholm
Sept. 13, 2011
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