The Oregonian: “Ballot measure has always been a means to an end”
In an editorial published yesterday, The Oregonian tackles the rapidly shifting landscape for the freedom to marry in Oregon in both the Courts and at the ballot. As momentum to achieve marriage for same-sex couples advances in the Courts like never before, the paper says it’s wise to shift our campaign’s resources to defending any attacks on freedom — namely, the proposed initiative that would permit businesses to openly discriminate against same-sex couples:
First, don’t grumble about Oregon United for Marriage’s decision. A lot of us might want to vote on a marriage-equality ballot measure this year, but running the necessary campaign would be a lousy use of donors’ contributions. Same-sex marriage would be legal regardless of the outcome, and the group would like to dedicate its resources to defeating a potential measure that would allow businesses not to “solemnize, celebrate, participate in, facilitate, or support any same-sex marriage ceremony or its arrangements.” In other words, a bakery that didn’t want to prepare a cake for a same-sex wedding could refuse without fear of penalty.
But doesn’t the group owe Oregonians a chance to vote, having asked for their signatures, their support and, yes, the money that may now be used to oppose a different measure? In a word, nope. From Oregon United for Marriage’s perspective, the ballot measure has always been a means to an end. At the time the effort began, say organization officials, holding a public vote seemed to be the best route to marriage equality. That’s no longer the case, however, as the legal scaffolding has collapsed, seemingly overnight, beneath bans like Oregon’s. The group’s shift merely reflects a change in circumstances.
As the case to overturn Oregon’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples fast tracks in federal court, we are more confident than ever that the freedom to marry will come to Oregon this year. In just a little over two months, seven federal judges across the country have ruled in favor of marriage — and none have ruled against.
But our opponents won’t stop there. They’re working around the clock to put an Arizona-style law on the ballot this November — and at a moment when Oregonians should soon be celebrating the imminent end of marriage discrimination, we have a tough fight ahead of us to stop this harmful measure.