Wondering about gay marriage in Oregon? Watch this video.

Karol Collymore

There is lots of chat around town about when Oregon is going to start the march towards gay marriage. If Iowa can do it, why can't we? Five states around the country have accepted marriage equality and it's making our blue state look, well, backwards. There are a few legal reasons why we can't go for it at this exact second, but I'll let Jeana Frazzini from Basic Rights Oregon give the details:

Visit their website here.

You want to contribute to the efforts around gay marriage? Start by going to BRO's fashion show, Strut PDX - fashion for a cause.

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    Thanks, Jeana, for communicating clearly with Oregon about our community's path to equality, and demonstrating our community's political maturity. While it's heartening to hear how much passion and momentum are building nationwide towards full LGBT equality, this issue is too important to botch through short-sighted half-efforts.

    Speaking as a gay man - "domesticated" with my eleven year partner on the same day we elected Barack Obama and Jeff Merkley - if it takes a few more years to get this done the right way, I can be that patient.

  • Oregon Bill (unverified)

    Step one: let "people of faith" know that their financial support for many of their churches and temples funded the successful Measure 36 campaign, and deprived fellow Oregonians of basic civil rights.

    (This is especially important for "progressive" Catholics, since the Archdiocese of Portland was the number one financial contributor to "Yes on 36." Also Mormons, #2. And churches belonging to the Albina Ministerial Alliance, which also contributed handsomely to write religious prejudice into the state constitution).

    Step two: Ask them to please stop giving money. The collection plate, the special appeal, the religious school tuition - all of this finances efforts to dehumanize gay and lesbian families, and keep Oregon behind Iowa, Vermont, Connecticut, Maine, Canada, Spain, the Netherlands... in terms of basic fairness and equality.

    It happened once. We know this. We know who did it. And unless "people of faith" stop funding these disgraceful efforts, the Archdiocese, the Mormons, and the Black and evangelical churches will be out there working hard to beat us down again.

  • meg (unverified)

    Is it a violation of voters' civil liberties, not to be able to vote on gay rights?

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    Meg: Was it a violation for voter's civil liberties, not to be able to vote on interracial marriage? Women's suffrage? Repealing Jim Crow? Brown vs Board?

  • DLD (unverified)

    Oregon Bill has it spot on, imho. I would add another item. Get elected to your parish councils and insist that not one penny of discretionary funds go to ANY ballot agenda, until their tab is clear with regard to outstanding civil litigation around abuse charges.

    That was for Catholics. Mormons can insist that not one penny go toward ballot issues or border control or the war on terror, until they have rid Utah of their own terrorists, the cult polygamists.

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    "marriage" is the wrong battle. we need to let go of marriage as a civic matter. marriage is a religious/spiritual ritual. as long as this struggle touches religion, we're probably going to fail. we need, as many have said, civil unions for all. and the thing that makes this a good option is that this is an option the religious community can and should support.

    any matter of religious importance that the government has their hands on is a disaster waiting to happen. the religionists were able to win M36, but they ought to be able to see (or be convinced) that the same kind of public momentum can be turned against churches. there is significant historical precendence for that. if churches want to maintain the liberty to conduct their ceremonies and rituals as they see fit, they need to be fully disconnected from civic power.

    creating a state of marriage/union that is legal only, and is conducted and controlled by the state, benefits everyone. marriage becomes a matter for each person's conscience and faith. a civic contract in lieu of marriage is not, a conservative religionist can argue, the same thing as marriage. but for those who only want what should be available to all under law, it's more than good enough.

    this is a strategy that can bring glbt activists and supporters into common cause with conservative religionists. it's much more viable option that any struggle that features the word "marriage". for on top of everything else, many of us who support the cause of full equality have little or no regard for the historic concept of marriage. i don't want to fight for marriage of any kind; i want to find for justice.

  • Bill R. (unverified)

    Iowa did not "march" to gay marriage. Iowa is a socially conservative state that will likely overturn the court decision on gay marriage, just as Oregon did a few years back. If the timing isn't right, and the populace doesn't support it, it just invites backlash. Thanks to Basic Rights Oregon and their inept maneuvering, we now have discrimination written into the constitution of Oregon.

  • Buckman Res (unverified)

    we need to let go of marriage as a civic matter.

    Agreed. Get the state out of the marriage sanctioning business. Leave it to adults of any orientation in any numerical combination to define for themselves what they want their “marriage” to be.

    Anything else is discriminatory and hypocritical.

  • Taylor M (unverified)

    "Oregon Bill" (two can use scare quotes) needs to take his anti-religious bigotry elsewhere- this post has nothing to do with religious politics, at all. It's a relatively fine distinction, but holding a faith does not mean endorsing the political views of the faith's leaders. Donations to a parish almost always support the parish and its missions, not the archdiocese. Church-going liberals get plenty of attacks from the right, without intolerance from wackos on the other side.

    Dorothy Day once wrote that Catholics can never be satisfied with the Church on earth. It's one thing to hold the leadership accountable, it's another one to bash a whole religious faith because some of its leaders hold the politics of neanderthals. Great post Karol.

  • BOHICA (unverified)

    meg asks, "Is it a violation of voters' civil liberties, not to be able to vote on gay rights?"

    No. You cannot take away a Constitutional protection.

    Constitution of the United States.

    Amendment XIV.

    Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    "Those who are preoccupied with the second-coming are the people who have given up trying to figure out what to do with the first one." Wes Clark

  • Taking Action (unverified)

    I respectfully disagree that the state should wait.

    I believe in the Full equality amendment:

    Oregon Full Equality Amendment

  • Harry (unverified)

    Why does the "full equality" amendment appear to do just the opposite--to codify domestic partnerships into the Oregon Constitution? That'll make it a million times more difficult to EVER get full marriage equality.

    Is Karl Rove behind this?

    Thanks but no thanks.

  • ws (unverified)

    "...marriage is a religious/spiritual ritual..." Barnhart

    That's just a claim to which religion relentlessly claims ownership, but can never really provide conclusive proof of. Religion shouldn't be accorded the right to dictate the terms that government grants to two adult people that have committed themselves to a lifetime joined together.

    If two people being joined want the 'holy' aspect officially associated with their marriage, they can seek the spiritual blessings of the faith or religion of their choice without government involvement.

  • dan (unverified)

    I agree with barnhart.

    Truly marriages should be out of the hands of the state altogether.

    There should be lawyers writing up marriage contracts for people who want to be together and have a document presenting that fact.

    it is unnecessary for the government to be in charge of this, promote heterosexual or homosexual marriages.

  • Nova (unverified)

    Technically speaking, anyone who has been married by the state has a civil union: marriages can only be bestowed by religious organizations that sanctifies the union between two individuals. Let us not forget that in this country, our freedom is measured by the distance between State and Church. We have no official religion in this country for a reason; the founders of this country recognized that in order for there to be any true freedom, they had to separate Church from State.

    It took way too long for the inherent inequity of 'separate but equal' to be overturned with regards to education and race. Let's not make the same mistake again.

  • Lee Donnell (unverified)

    Posted by: t.a. barnhart | May 7, 2009 9:36:53 PM

    "marriage" is the wrong battle. we need to let go of marriage as a civic matter.

    Well, back to the post topic, anyone that says that doesn't get it. Maybe I don't. Are you saying that you would remove all conjugal dependecies from all civil law? There's an awful lot. From Fannie Mae to probate, "married" is 9/10 of a lot of law.

    If the State gets out of defining marriage, but still supports it as a qualification in civil law, that's simply abrogating the definition to religion. You have a dual system where one defines something, and another allocates benefits. Hmmm. Where have I heard that? Most "moderate" Muslim countries?

    You wonder why people make religion out to be the boogey man? It is. You're not fighing in the Middle East for democracy vs despostism, you're fighting for whose model of state religion will get market share!

  • Angie (unverified)

    In theory, I totally agree that the state shouldn't be in the business of defining marriage and determining whose relationships are worth recognizing (and rewarding with thousands of additional rights and privileges).

    But in practice, as Lee mentions, it's a whole lot stickier than that. And how is it fair to put gay couples at the center of that? As a lesbian, I don't want my family put on the line for what feels like a pretty academic debate.

    I say go BRO! Let's do this once, and do it right.

  • rw (unverified)

    Dan, I wonder what SES class you reside in? Make it now a matter upon which one must be able to afford an attorney to get hitched? Worser and worser.


  • Angie (unverified)

    RW: Thank you! I can't even afford the additional name change fee for domestic partners. (Yes, we're charged extra to change our names. It's free when you're married.)

    Again, there are real families that need marriage rights to be made accessible and affordable. This isn't just some hypothetical debate about the role of government.

  • jakob (unverified)

    I really appreciate Jeana's statement. As an LGBT activist, I must say that I personally agree with folks who've stated that marriage should not be in the hands of the state. Unfortunately, this is the reality, and couples are hurting every day in very real ways because of the inequalities which exist between "marriage" and "domestic partnerships."

    I also agree that "defeat is not a path to victory." It seems to me that going through unnecessary ballot measure battles is not worth it when our families and our lives are on trial - and it's not an effective political strategy to boot!

    2012 is coming right up, and I'm excited to focus on the education campaign so that we can repeal Measure 36 and get the votes to win marriage equality in Oregon!

  • Nova (unverified)

    One of the biggest ironies in any democracy comes when civil rights are up for a vote. Our form of government becomes a tyrany of the majority in such instances -- just looking at the history of the US will give you a better understanding of this. Just to reiterate the need to separate Church from State is the language of marriage:

    Every 'marriage' performed by the state is a civil union.

    Every marriage performed by a religious institution is a marriage by that faith.

    The book "Nixon's Piano" does a great job of outlining how differences of opinion, of race, of cultural upbringing or any other politically charged difference found among our population as a nation have been expertly used against us to our detriment but to our politicians' benefit.

    Not only have we allowed our factions to fracture the unity that we as Americans should feel, but it has also allowed a vocal few to write discrimination and dissention into our federal statutes and state constitutions.

    This proposed amendment is just more of the same fear-mongering that has kept the queer community in second-class citizenship for far too long. Without the right to form a state and federally recognized civil union, there is an inherent subjugation of civil rights by one group over another group.

    What we should be doing is uniting on the grounds of equal rights for ALL citizens, not just those with the political and monetary clout to demand it.

  • amyigibson (unverified)

    Straight and totally with you. I think the slogan "Get Engaged" is fabulous.

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