What a difference six months makes!

Tell your network:

Tell your network:

RaahiThis is a guest post by Raahi Reddy, Organizing Director at Basic Rights Oregon. You can contact Raahi with questions or comments at Raahi@basicrights.org

Washington, Maine, Rhode Island, Delaware and Minnesota have all recently extended the freedom to marry to every loving and committed couple, as have France, Uruguay, New Zealand and Brazil. NBA center Jason Collins became the first active male professional athlete in a major North American team sports to publicly come out as gay.  This summer, the U.S. Supreme Court is slated to decide whether to strike down laws that make it illegal for people in committed relationships to marry the person they love.  Poll after poll shows a growing majority supports marriage equality.

summeroflovekickoff1Momentum is on the side of the freedom to marry. In Oregon, because of Measure 36, we can’t win marriage for same-sex couples through the courts or through the legislature. The ballot is our only option. Oregon United for Marriage is building a broad coalition of individuals and organizations to win marriage for same-sex couples in Oregon.

On Valentine’s Day, we held 14 events around the state, from Portland to Pendleton, to kick off the campaign. We got such a great response that in just a few days we gathered twice the necessary signatures to start the ballot process.

But we still have more work to do. We are about to start gathering the required 116,284 signatures needed to get the measure on the ballot. The “vote yes” campaign will heat up in the fall of 2014, and voters will weigh in on November 4, 2014.

Our families will be on the line, and the campaign will be politically, financially and emotionally expensive. Fortunately, the landscape is changing and we have learned a lot in recent years. Here is an update on what we are working on:

Volunteer power: We are building a tremendous army with people from all corners of the state, from Bend, to Pendleton, to Beaverton to Portland. We’re training volunteers and we’re training volunteers on how to train even more volunteers.  We aim to have the largest and most-energized volunteer team in the state.

Vdaysign

Former Governor Barbara Walters and current Governor John Kitzhaber endorse the freedom to marry on Valentine’s Day.

Coalition Power: We know we can’t win this alone. Over the years, labor, faith, advocacy and justice organizations, including Our Oregon, have been stepping up to support equality. Today we are building a coalition of organizations, leaders and constituencies to spread the word about why marriage matters and combat opposition messaging and tactics, such as the race wedge and anti-faith rhetoric.

Marriage says “we are family” in a way that no other word does and is a fundamental freedom that should not be denied to anyone. It is as basic as the Golden Rule: treating others as one would want to be treated includes allowing marriage for gay couples who are truly committed to each other. We hope you’ll join us in making marriage legal for all committed couples in Oregon.

OUFM

 

 

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