Even though the Oregon Family Council announced that it would not be gathering signatures to put SB 2 on the 2008 ballot, in its press release making the announcement, the OFC sent a little message to its friends that "[s]hould some other organization or community leaders successfully gather enough signatures to put SB 2 before Oregon Voters we will not actively be part of a campaign but will strongly encourage our supporters to vote for the referendum and defeat this bill." As you might have guessed, there were a number of related groups that immediately adopted an "if they won’t, we will" attitude. As of yesterday, the Constitution Party took the lead.
But, that wasn't the most interesting part of the email. The best part came at the end, and I found it really exciting. It was an action item called "Clock In for Equality," asking readers to "have five conversations with friends, family or co-workers about why equality is important to you, and why you therefore support the Oregon Equality Act (banning workplace discrimination) and Oregon Family Fairness Act (creating Domestic Partnerships for same-sex couples)."
This is a fantastic idea organized by Lambda Legal with participating organizations like BRO, designed to raise awareness about issues that are important to the GLBT community. I was thrilled to see such a simple and powerful call to action. I truly believe that this is the way we will achieve equality - through one-on-one conversations with our friends, families, co-workers, neighbors and strangers on the street. The more we come out and speak up, the more our issues will be understood as basic, human issues, and the easier it will become for those same friends, family members, co-workers and neighbors to become champions of equality.
The Constitution Party will need to collect 55,179 signatures in the 90 days after session ends in order to put the bills on the ballot. It would take 11,040 of us having 5 "clock in" conversations to beat that number. I bet we could do it before the session ends. I'll let you know how my conversations go. I'd love to hear about yours.