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No. 10: Ore. marriage amendment qualifies for Nov. ballot

SALEM, Ore. (BP)–A constitutional marriage amendment in Oregon qualified for the ballot July 26, meaning that voters there will have a say on the issue of same-sex “marriage.”

The announcement makes Oregon the 10th state with a marriage amendment on the ballot. Three other states — Michigan, North Dakota and Ohio — could follow.

The Oregon secretary of state’s office announced that 204,000 signatures had been validated — more than double the 100,000 required. The group behind the amendment, the Defense of Marriage Coalition, submitted 240,000. The signatures were gathered in five weeks, which was a record time.

The amendment would protect the traditional definition of marriage within the state’s constitution, thus banning same-sex “marriage.”

While citizens in a dozen or so states likely will vote on marriage amendments this fall, Oregon’s amendment may be the most important. That state’s high court could hear a case on same-sex “marriage” as early as this year. Oregon’s attorney general and governor have said they believe the court likely will legalize same-sex “marriage,” which would make it the second state court in the nation to do so.

The amendment, then, may decide the future of same-sex “marriage” in Oregon.

Tim Nashif, political director for the Oregon Defense of Marriage Coalition, previously told Baptist Press that the pro-family group needs $1.5 million to conduct a successful campaign with television, radio and print ads.

The Oregonian newspaper reported July 27 that Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union will oppose the amendment. They have joined other liberal groups to form Equality in Oregon, an organization that opposes the amendment. A spokesman for Equality in Oregon said the group hopes to raise $2 million.

Homosexual activists, Nashif said, are “at an advantage there because” they “have a lot of people with big money.”
“It’s going to cost a lot of money,” Nashif said of the campaign, “and that’s our concern — raising enough money to debate the issue. The opposition, of course, wants to call it discrimination. Basically, we’ve done our part on the signature gathering. Now we’ve got to raise the money and do a great campaign.”

Oregonians also will be voting on a measure to expand Oregon’s medicinal marijuana law. The measure would increase the amounts of marijuana patients could possess.

Marriage amendments in other states are making progress.

A spokesman for the North Dakota Family Alliance told the Associated Press July 26 that the group has enough signatures to place an amendment on the ballot. The group is facing an Aug. 3 deadline. Pro-family groups in Ohio face an Aug. 4 deadline and likely will have enough signatures, although a court challenge could jeopardize the amendment making the November ballot.

Michigan’s marriage amendment is awaiting word from the secretary of state’s office. Pro-family groups there submitted their signatures in early July.

Including Oregon, 10 states already have sent marriage amendments to the ballot. The other nine are Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma and Utah.

State constitutional marriage amendments tie the hands of state courts, preventing a Massachusetts-type court ruling legalizing same-sex “marriage.” But state amendments can be struck down in federal court, where Nebraska’s is being challenged. For that reason, pro-family groups are pushing for a marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
For more information about the national debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit

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