Oregon United for Marriage celebrates attorney general’s statement calling Measure 36 indefensibleAround the Nation, Online Only, Top Highlights Friday, February 21st, 2014
PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced today in a legal filing that Measure 36 “cannot withstand a federal constitutional challenge under any standard of review,” and that the State defendants in Rummell v. Kitzhaber will not defend the ban that excludes same-sex couples from marriage. The campaign also released updated polling today, showing that 55 percent of likely November voters favor allowing gay and lesbian couples the freedom to marry, with just 41 percent opposed.
“This is tremendous news. The Attorney General has taken a close look at the facts, and came to the same conclusion that courts around the country and freedom-minded Oregonians have: there is no reasonable or legal justification to exclude committed gay and lesbian couples from marriage,” campaign manager Mike Marshall says. “The dramatic increase in Oregonians’ support for the freedom to marry—from 42 percent support in May 2010 to 55 percent support today—mirrors the movement we’re seeing nationally. More and more people understand that no one should be denied the freedom to marry the person they love.”
Oregon United for Marriage also announced today it has gathered enough signatures to to be assured a place on the November 2014 ballot. 116,284 are required but the campaign has gathered more than 160,000 signatures—well over the requirement and more than enough to qualify for the November ballot. Oregon United will hold onto the signatures, pending the outcome of the federal lawsuit.
Oral arguments in the suit, Rummell v. Kitzhaber, are scheduled for April 23. Oregon United plans to file an amicus brief urging the judge to find Measure 36 unconstitutional on an expedited timeline.
“Countless Oregonians have talked to their friends and family about why marriage matters, and Oregonians have responded overwhelmingly. We are confident that we have enough signatures to qualify for the ballot if we need to do so, and we are confident we will win the freedom to Marry for all Oregonians in 2014—hopefully sooner than we originally anticipated,” says Marshall. “Now that we have done the hard work of assuring a place on the ballot and moving public opinion, we have the ability to wait for the courts to do the right thing. No one is interested in engaging in an expensive political campaign if we don’t have to. We have more than 4,000 volunteers across Oregon to thank for that.”
“With thousands of loving, committed couples in Oregon waiting to marry, we are hopeful that the judge will make a swift decision that clears the way for everyone to marry the person they love,” added Jeana Frazzini, OR4M chair and chief petitioner. “And when he does, Oregonians will celebrate!”
Oregon United for Marriage is also preparing to defend the loving, committed couples who are looking forward to the freedom to marry in Oregon. Opponents of marriage equality have filed an initiative that would give corporations and individuals an exemption to the state’s existing anti-discrimination laws—in place since 2007—and give commercial businesses the right to discriminate against same-sex couples. Oregon United for Marriage will mobilize to educate as many people as possible to stop this divisive proposal dead in its tracks.
“At a moment when Oregonians should be celebrating the imminent end of discrimination against loving, committed couples—we’re gearing up to fight another effort to write discrimination back into our laws,” Marshall added.
As part of this effort, Oregon United for Marriage is scheduling a statewide tour for the first two weeks of March, to talk to supporters of the freedom to marry about the campaign’s next steps.
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