In a press release that kicks off with sentences like " Religious freedom upholds stability in a diverse society," the Protect Religious Freedom Initiative has kicked off its petition campaign to get a measure on the Oregon ballot that would "exempt a person from supporting same-sex ceremonies in violation of deeply held religious beliefs."
The release says:
Friends of Religious Freedom filed the Protect Religious Freedom Initiative today in order to safeguard religious freedom in Oregon and to allow conscientious objectors or persons with deeply held religious beliefs to decline to participate in same-sex ceremonies. Oregonians will have the opportunity in 2014 to protect religious freedom and individual conscience rights now and for future generations of Oregonians. We are confident that Oregonians will rally behind this cause to protect religious freedom and individual conscience rights.
The measure is supported by the Oregon Family Council, which proudly discusses its role in enacting Oregon's 2004 gay marriage ban (the same one the Oregon DOJ recently announced it will not defend in court).
In March of 2004 Oregon Family Council, Inc. founded the Defense of Marriage Coalition to orchestrate the YES on 36 Campaign. With support from numerous organizations, pastors, churches and individuals, 57% of Oregonians amended the Oregon Constitution to define marriage as only between one man and one woman. Oregon Family Council, Inc. realizes Measure 36 was simply one battle in a much larger culture war. That’s why Defense of Marriage Coalition will continue its mission to secure, maintain and strengthen traditional marriage in Oregon.
The Oregon United for Marriage campaign immediately put out a statement from campaign manager Mike Marshall:
"Like Arizona, Oregon is facing a discrimination initiative that would allow businesses to deny commercial services to people because of who they are and who they love. Treating people differently based on who they are is discrimination."
"At a moment when Oregonians should be celebrating the imminent end of discrimination against loving, committed couples, we’re gearing up to fight this effort to write discrimination back into our laws. This hurtful measure weakens our current anti-discrimination laws so that corporations and commercial businesses can discriminate against gay and lesbian couples by denying them services on their wedding day. Freedom means freedom for everyone, and it is wrong to treat people differently because of who they are and who they love."
The full measure proposal for the Novermber ballot is here. In order to be on the ballot the group would need to collect 87,213 signature by July 3, and cannot begin collecting signatures until the measure has a ballot title. The Oregonian reports the title AG Ellen Rosenblum proposed was "Exempts religious opposition to same sex marriage/civil union/domestic partnership from penalties for discrimination" while Friends of Religious Freedome prefers "Protects persons choosing non-participation in same-sex ceremonies based on conscience or religious belief from penalization."
Phone calls aren't always from who the caller says they are — keep that in mind if you get calls from EPD or the IRS and they seem fishy. According to EPD:
Eugene Police recently received a call from a man and his twin in another state who have received two calls from someone claiming to be from the Eugene Police Department advising that they have warrants for both their arrest and that they need to return the call immediately to ‘get this taken care of.’ This is not a practice EPD would use for a warrant.
There was another reported scam from a UO student within the last week, who sent $1,000 to “the IRS” using a pre-paid money card. He was told his bank account would be frozen and he would be arrested if he didn’t pay.
The police remind you not to feel weird about refusing to speak with a caller until calling back at an established number, like EPD's non-emergency number, 682-5111. They add a few recommendations:
Don’t give out personal or financial information to someone who calls you. If you are unsure, hang up and independently find the phone number of the alleged represented agency and call yourself. A law enforcement agency will not ask you for this type of information or request that money be sent by way of money order for any reason.
Beware of high pressure techniques, such as the need to give information or make a decision on the spot.
If it sounds quirky or weird, it probably is.
Yep, watch out for those quirky ones.
Below is a statement from Oregon's AG on why Oregon won't defend it's gay marriage ban (yay!)
My favorite part is this quote "The law in this area is developing and it is now clear that there is no rational basis for Oregon to refuse to honor the commitments made by same-sex couples in the same way it honors the commitments of opposite-sex couples. Marriage is the way that loving couples become family to each other and to their extended families, and there is no good reason to exclude same-sex couples from marriage in Oregon, or from having their marriages recognized here.
Because we cannot identify a valid reason for the state to prevent the couples who have filed these lawsuits from marrying in Oregon, we find ourselves unable to stand before federal Judge McShane to defend the state’s prohibition against marriages between two men or two women."
STATEMENT OF OREGON ATTORNEY GENERAL ELLEN ROSENBLUM ON THE SUBJECT OF PENDING LITIGATION CHALLENGING SAME-SEX MARRIAGE BAN
Good morning. As many Oregonians are aware, four couples have brought suit against the state, asking a federal court to find that Oregon’s ban on marriage by couples of the same sex violates the right of equality enshrined in the United States Constitution. I am named as a defendant in the lawsuits, along with the Governor, and it falls on my office to appear on behalf of the state before the court and answer the couples’ claims.
Usually — though not always — my office defends the state in litigation. As Attorney General, I have sworn an oath to uphold our state’s constitution. The lawyers in my office have sworn the same oath. The oath we took also requires us to uphold the Constitution of the United States – which is the supreme law of our land. Of course, we all take these oaths very seriously.
So it is after much careful study and consideration that I stand before you today to announce that the Oregon Department of Justice will not defend the prohibition in our state's constitution against marriages between people of the same sex. A document called an “answer” filed with the court earlier this morning informed Judge McShane of our decision. Copies are available for you.
Because our office also represents the people of Oregon, a brief explanation is in order.
The Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution gives people the right to be treated equally by their government, unless there is a good reason for unequal treatment. That is, any time the government establishes different sets of rules or laws for different sets of people, there must at least be what the law calls a “rational basis” for those differences.
The law in this area is developing and it is now clear that there is no rational basis for Oregon to refuse to honor the commitments made by same-sex couples in the same way it honors the commitments of opposite-sex couples. Marriage is the way that loving couples become family to each other and to their extended families, and there is no good reason to exclude same-sex couples from marriage in Oregon, or from having their marriages recognized here.
Because we cannot identify a valid reason for the state to prevent the couples who have filed these lawsuits from marrying in Oregon, we find ourselves unable to stand before federal Judge McShane to defend the state’s prohibition against marriages between two men or two women.
We will be explaining our legal reasoning to Judge McShane as this case proceeds. Those of you who are interested will be more than welcome to review our pleadings as they are filed. Legal papers that are due by April will fully address our analysis and that of the other parties in the two cases that are now consolidated.
Next time you're out and about, keep in mind that EPD is watching for common causes of accidents: speeding, misuse of cell phones, misuse of seat belts, following too closely, lane violations and failure to obey traffic control devices. Of course, EW readers always drive wisely.
Here's where they plan to be:
· February 26 - Valley River Way & Valley River Drive· March 18 - I-105 & West 7th· April 29 - West 18th & Chambers· May 19 & 23 - MLK & Coburg Road· June 17 - West 11th & Bertelsen
Occupy Eugene and the SLEEPS (Safe Legally Entitled Emergency Places to Sleep) campaign bring you an informational video on how to stay warm in the winter. Think of threes: "Those three things will keep you warm warm, so I can be out here functioning, no problem," Griml says in the video. SLEEPS has been occupying the old Federal Building for the last four months fighting the camping ban.
Former Eugene resident making great music in Nashville.
Photos contributed by Jeremy Mabe