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 minorities.
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 duos.
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 state.”
On the Let Oregon Vote website, where information about the campaign is being coordinated, officials noted that Oregonians have voted four times on statewide “gay rights” plans.
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 said.
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 concerns.
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 years.
“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 enter domestic 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.”
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