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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 19, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 33
Oregon Gay marriage equality supporters aim for 2012 marriage vote
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Oregon Gay marriage equality supporters aim for 2012 marriage vote

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Basic Rights Oregon (BRO), the state's largest Gay-rights organization, is planning a voter-education campaign on same-sex marriage - or marriage equality, as it is becoming more commonly known.

Even though the 2012 general elections are more than a year away, BRO says it will begin collecting signatures in October for a possible 2012 ballot campaign. Jeana Frazzini, executive director of BRO, made the announcement August 14 during a Garden Party fundraiser in South Salem.

'I fully support the work that Basic Rights Oregon does,' said Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown, the event's keynote speaker. 'They do an amazing job educating and engaging Oregonians across the state.'

'I think it's really important that Oregonians have an understanding of how discrimination impacts the LGBT community,' she said.

For now, BRO is engaged in an education campaign and will make an official decision in October as to whether to go forward with signature gathering. Through TV ads, social media, fieldwork, and encouraging one-on-one conversations across the state, BRO has worked to engage Oregonians in conversations about marriage for over a year.

Frazzini has said that 'although support for marriage equality is increasing, we do not want to go to the ballot unless we are confident that we can win.'

In Oregon, marriage equality would only be possible through popular vote. Oregon courts have not yet ruled on the constitutionality of the state's same-sex marriage ban, and the state legislature cannot amend the constitution.

Frazzini says the current education campaign is important because, 'once we enter a heated political campaign, it will be impossible for our message of love, commitment, and fairness to be heard over the din of the opposition's negative advertising.'

Since 2000, BRO has built a diverse movement made up of LGBT folks, straight allies, rural and urban Oregonians, business leaders, clergy, elected officials, educators, parents, and others, as well as coalition partners in labor, healthcare, reproductive choice, civil liberties, and racial justice organizations.

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