Million voters overruled by 54 lawmakers
Deadline approaches for petitions to keep traditional
September 14, 2007,
Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski
For 148 years Oregon has 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.
But 54 state lawmakers and a Democratic governor, Ted
Kulongoski, have rejected the expressed will of the people
to approve and sign into law House Bill 2007 and Senate Bill
2 this year, opponents say.
The two laws make up a combination that bestows on
same-sex couples all the rights given married couples,
critics said, and provides vast new legal power for those
who choose homosexual, bisexual, or other alternative
lifestyles in their newly designated status as protected
There must have been at least some concern about the
mandate from citizens about marriage, because the newest
incarnations include a requirement for a public education
program, which horrified opponents say specifically seeks to
change the attitudes of those who don't support homosexual
Marylin Shannon, a former state lawmaker, is working with
Let Oregon Vote, one of the multiple family-oriented
groups that have taken on the goal of collecting nearly
55,000 petition signatures (actually 55,179) to bring those
legislative votes before the people of Oregon.
She said Oregonians have never given a million votes to
any other issue or candidate, yet the Legislature went ahead
with its moral agenda anyway.
Now, she said, a Sept. 26 deadline is fast approaching
for the petition signatures to be assembled and presented to
the state, for a determination on whether the people of that
state will get their way, or whether the politicians will
impose a change that has been described as "transforming."
"Thirty-four of 36 counties said, 'We want marriage to be
between one man and one woman,'" Shannon told WND. "But the
legislators from Portland put their values on the whole
Let Oregon Vote website, where information about the
campaign is being coordinated, officials noted that
Oregonians have voted four times on statewide "gay rights"
Over those time it took for those votes to be assembled,
homosexual rights advocates have lost nearly 40,000
supporters. "Conversely, voters holding to our heritage and
values increased in numbers by nearly 400,000," the group
The designation of homosexuals as a protected class gives
them the weight of civil rights laws to demand preferential
treatment, even to the point that observers have warned that
a Christian church could be forced to hire a homosexual or
lesbian as a youth leader or secretary.
"Absolutely, it will take an effort all the way up to the
[petition] deadline," said Shannon. "But I believe we are
going to make it."
She said she observed the pro-homosexual lawmakers who
held the majority in the Oregon Legislature. "They were
intoxicated with their power. They had the power and they
were going to do it," she said. Several issues were raised
during debate, such as the law's impact on prisons and other
institutes, but lawmakers decided against addressing those
John Fortmeyer, publisher of the
Christian News Northwest has reported that it's apparent
the pro-homosexual community is concerned that the voters –
again – will choose traditional marriage.
An organization called Know Thy Neighbor, he reported, in
a maneuver some residents could find intimidating, is
planning to obtain – and publicize – the names of everyone
who signs a petition seeking to have voters address such
defining issues as marriage.
Among the groups supporting the initiative effort are
Concerned Oregonians, Restore America, the Oregon Republican
Party, Oregon Family Council and others.
Shannon said one group that is very active is called
"Reclaim the Vote" and is made up primarily of young Russian
Christians who have come to the United States in recent
"We're all prayer warriors that just felt like we needed
to do something," Shannon said. "If there is ever a time to
step up and be counted, this is the time."
An analysis by the Let Oregon Vote website noted that
there's no documentation of a need for the classification of
homosexuals among "protected" minorities.
It also fails to provide a sufficient religious exemption
to protect churches and religious organizations from being
forced to hire homosexual individuals, and further it leaves
to "a court to decide what is or is not closely connected
with the primary purposes of the church."
The pair of plans would require school districts to teach
homosexual, bisexuality and transgenderism in their
classrooms, and the domestic
partnership proposal itself, would create
discrimination, the analysis said.
"Only two unrelated individuals of the same gender can
partnerships. A man and a woman cannot choose to enter
into a domestic partnership. Their only option in marriage,"
it said. "If domestic partnerships are genuinely distinct
from marriage, Oregon should allow all heterosexual and
same-sex couples to choose a domestic partnership," it said.
The Oregon Family Council notes that both of the plans
"are deeply troubling."
"They legitimize a lifestyle that the Scripture clearly
condemns and we believe holds trouble consequences for
Oregon's future. … We are dedicated to continue the fight
for traditional marriage in Oregon as long as it takes."