After gay marriage legalized in Oregon, advocates abandon ballot push

Fri May 23, 2014 3:31pm EDT

(Reuters) - Advocates for same-sex marriage in Oregon, fresh from a major legal victory that paved the way for same-sex couples in the state to wed, said on Friday they no longer plan to put the issue on the ballot this November.

A federal judge on Monday struck down Oregon's decade-old constitutional amendment that defined marriage exclusively as the union of a man and a woman. County officials almost immediately began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, including in Portland where some couples, anticipating the ruling, had camped in front of a county offices.

Oregon's attorney general declined to mount a legal defense of Oregon's gay marriage ban.

The ruling was one in a series of victories this month for advocates of expanding marriage rights to gays and lesbians. This week, a Pennsylvania court threw out the state's same-sex marriage ban - making Pennsylvania the 19th state to allow same-sex marriage, after Governor Tom Corbett, a conservative Republican, declined to appeal the ruling.

Advocates in Oregon had long planned to bring the issue to voters in a ballot initiative this year. But with the court ruling, the effort became unnecessary, the group Oregon United for Marriage said in a statement to supporters.

"We are confident that the freedom to marry is secure in Oregon and that we do not need to move forward with the ballot measure," said the group's deputy campaign manager, Amy Ruiz. "It is time to celebrate this victory for Oregon."

A separate ballot initiative that would have created an exemption to Oregon's non-discrimination law for businesses that claim a moral objection to opt-out of participating in a same-sex wedding has also been abandoned.

(Reporting By Edith Honan)

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Comments (1)
REnninga wrote:
This is the right decision. We should not have issues of individual rights and protections on America’s ballots. Americans should not treat “rights” as if they are privileges, or rewards, to ge granted or taken away. Rights are rights, period.

Monday was a day of great joy for many, if not most Oregonians. But it is troubling to also note that it took 10 years, and the ruling of a Federal Judge, to remind Oregonians of what most of us already know in our hearts. That it is wrong for one group of Americans to vote to deny equal rights and equal protections to another group of our fellow Americans. And to do so is not only un-Constitutional, but it is also downright un-American. Shame on us!

Oregon’s Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage should never have made it to the ballot, 10 years ago. It was the wrong thing to do, and I hope this reminder, and the lesson delivered Monday from a Federal Judge, will be taught as a civics lesson in Oregon’s classrooms from this point forward; lest that lesson be forgotten …

The lesson: All men and women are created equal, and Americans do not vote to deny or subvert the equality of others.

May 23, 2014 4:09pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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