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.”