Many petition signers had sought, personally, to affirm
their signatures in order to overcome a publicized
referendum deficit of five names, but were rejected by
After arguments, the judge hearing the case granted the
ADF motion for a preliminary injunction, meaning the law
will not take effect Jan. 1 as scheduled. Another hearing
is set for Feb. 1, officials with ADF said.
The state already had begun implementation of the new
plans confirmed by prison officials to allow inmates who
are part of a domestic partnership to live in the same
prison facility, and in the same unit, a privilege
specifically denied married inmates.
"The problem I have with this is that the department
will not allow heterosexual inmates who are married to
live together in the same institution or on the same
housing unit," said one state Department of Corrections
employee, whose name was being withheld from publication.
"The new policy gives homosexual RDP inmates the
special privilege of living together but denies it for
heterosexual married inmates, just the opposite of what
the policy is trying to achieve, and discriminates against
heterosexuals based on their sexual orientation," the
"Not only is this a discriminatory policy but it will
be an enforcement nightmare for correctional staff. If the
RDP inmates are allowed to live on the same housing unit,
are we going to allow them to shower together or … let
them sleep next to each other? And if we don't allow them
to do those things will we be sued for discrimination
because of their sexual orientation? The whole thing is
just nuts!" the employee said.
The case developed when 54 state lawmakers and
Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski rejected the will of the
people to approve and sign into law House Bill 2007 and
Senate Bill 2 during the 2007 Legislature.
For 148 years Oregon had recognized marriage as the
union of a man and a woman, and voters four times have
addressed the issue, most recently in 2004 when they
collected more than a million votes and by a substantial
57-43 percent margin decided to keep traditional marriage
defined as being between only one man and only one woman.
But the newest legislation simply rejects that vote,
and even makes a move to address such citizen "attitudes,"
requiring schools to seek to change the minds of those who
don't support homosexual duos.
SB 2, state officials say, "recognizes and declares
that the opportunity to obtain employment or housing or to
use and enjoy places of public accommodation without
discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex,
sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, age
or disability is a civil right under Oregon law."
House Bill 2007, "grants legal recognition in Oregon to
same-sex domestic partnerships," they said. That is the
plan targeted by the ADF lawsuit.
An organization called
Concerned Oregonians had worked on a referendum that
would put HB 2007 and SB 2 before Oregon voters in 2008.
But when the state declared the referendum was five
signatures short, and county clerks refused to correct
mistakes that had been made in the counting, the ADF filed
In a column on the issue, Alan Sears, chief of the ADF,
noted that the issue of marriage consisting of – and only
of – one man and one woman is supported overwhelmingly in
the United States. Twenty-seven of 28 states where voters
have decided the question, they have limited marriage to
one man and one woman.
"Those seeking to fabricate same-sex 'marriage' have
long recognized the American public is a roadblock to
their success. In 1998, after ADF-allied litigation
allowed Alaska citizens to vote on (and pass) a
constitutional amendment barring same-sex unions, the ACLU
executive director declared: 'Today's results prove that
certain fundamental issues should not be left up to a
"When the (new) referendum was submitted to the Oregon
Secretary of State on Sept. 26, signatures exceeded the
required number by more than 6,000. However, the Secretary
of State announced there were not enough signatures to
sustain the referendum. The evaluated 'sample' was said to
be only five signatures short. If you wonder how this
could happen, you aren't alone. As it turns out, there is
a very clear explanation – many of the signatures were
wrongfully rejected," Sears said.
"Signatures were invalidated for allegedly not matching
their voter registration cards, being illegible, or coming
from unregistered voters. But according to ADF attorneys
who examined the signatures, several of those kicked out
did match, were legible, and the affected
voters actually were registered. In other words,
many valid signers were ignored," he continued.
Clerks have "adamantly"' resisted efforts by signers to
authenticate their signatures. "One county clerk even told
a rejected signer, in person, and to their face, 'tough
nuggets,'" Sears said.
The lawsuit alleges Oregon voters from 12 counties have
been disenfranchised by administrative fiat, because their
signatures were rejected and they were not allowed a
procedure to restore them to the petition.
Bill Burgess, the clerk in Marion County, confirmed the
state had given county clerks instructions to follow a
"precedent" and not correct any incorrectly
classified signatures they may have been told about.
"We also have a legal obligation to follow the
guidelines and precedents of the past and our attorney has
told us, and the Secretary of State has advised us that
there is no place in this petition signature checking
process for a person to come in later on and attest that
that was their signature," he told WND.