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Oregon marriage equality supporters submit sponsorship petitions

Oregon marriage equality supporters submit sponsorship petitions

Oregon United for Marriage, a broad coalition working to legalize same-sex marriage in Oregon, submitted 2,000 sponsorship signatures to the Secretary of State Elections Office on Tuesday, twice the number needed to move move into the ballot title process.

The planed measure, the “Freedom to Marry and Religious Protection Initiative,” would repeal the same-sex marriage ban and replace it with a constitutional provision to allow all Oregonians to marry, regardless of gender.

The initiative would protect the existing rights of religious institutions and clergy to refuse to perform any marriage.

“With Oregon’s help, we did it,” said Jeana Frazzini, Executive Director of Basic Rights Oregon, the state’s the state’s leading gay-rights group, and chief backer of the initiative.

“We held 17 events across the state, mobilized hundreds of volunteers, and doubled our goal of 1,000 sponsorship signatures to advance the measure that will make it legal for gay and lesbian couples to marry in Oregon,” she said.

Leaders from across the state — including Governor John Kitzhaber and former Governor Barbara Roberts, state legislators, mayors, and city and county elected officials — signed the sponsorship petitions.

Once the Secretary of State Elections Division validates the signatures and ensures that the requirement for 1,000 valid signatures is met, the ballot title process begins.

“We look forward to working with the Oregon Secretary of State and Attorney General to ensure that we obtain a ballot title that plainly describes the initiative and ensures that voters understand that we are respecting religious rights,” Frazzini said.

To qualify for the November 2014 ballot, supporters will then need to collect 116,284 signatures.

Oregon voters in 2004 approved a ban on gay marriage 57 percent to 43 percent. A 2007 Oregon law allows same-sex couples to register a domestic partnership that provides the same rights as marriage under state law.

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