This week, faith leaders and Oregon United for Marriage Chief Petitioner Jeana Frazzini turned in 2,000 sponsorship signatures on the Freedom to Marry and Religious Protection Initiative—twice the number of signatures needed to move into the ballot title process.
“With Oregon’s help, we did it,” Frazzini said. “We held 17 events across the state, mobilized hundreds of volunteers, and doubled our goal of 1,000 sponsorship signatures to advance the measure that will make it legal for gay and lesbian couples to marry in Oregon.”
Oregon United for Marriage collected the signatures in one week, one of the fastest turnaround times for a sponsorship petition. The signatures come from 29 counties across Oregon, counties representing over 97 percent of Oregon’s population. Leaders from across the state—including Governor John Kitzhaber and former Governor Barbara Roberts, plus state legislators, mayors, and city and county elected officials—signed the sponsorship petitions.
This initiative would repeal the same-sex marriage ban and replace it with a constitutional provision that recognizes and protects the right of all Oregonians to marry, regardless of their gender. The initiative protects the existing rights of religious institutions and clergy to refuse to perform any marriage.
Over 70 clergy and faith leaders from numerous denominations signed the sponsorship petition, representing Protestant, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Lutheran-Catholic, Methodist, Jewish, Quaker, and Buddhist faith traditions.
At the Secretary of State Elections office today, Frazzini was joined by faith leaders who affirm the right of caring, committed same-sex couples to legally marry in Oregon, including the Very Rev. William Lupfer, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral Portland, Reverend W.J. Mark Knutson of Augustana Lutheran Church, and Neysa Ellgren, Canon to the Ordinary of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon.
“We recognize that there are differences on this issue within the religious community,” said the Very Rev. Lupfer. “We affirm that the state should not require any religious group to officiate at, or bless, same-gender marriages. However, the state also should not favor the convictions of one religious group over another by denying individuals their fundamental right to marry whom they love."
“Oregonians believe in basic freedom and in treating others as they wish to be treated," Rev. Knutson said. "God is love and love is for everyone.”
Once the Secretary of State Elections Division validates the signatures and ensures that the requirement for 1,000 valid signatures is met, the ballot title process begins.
“We look forward to working with the Oregon Secretary of State and Attorney General to ensure that we obtain a ballot title that plainly describes the initiative and ensures that voters understand that we are respecting religious rights,” Frazzini said.