Oregon State Rep. Julie Parrish over
the weekend became the highest-ranking House Republican to endorse a
bid to legalize gay marriage in Oregon.
Oregon voters in November will be the
first in the nation to consider whether to scrap a constitutional
amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples. Oregon voters
approved the state's ban in 2004.
Openly gay NBA veteran Jason Collins
later this month will help kick off Freedom Oregon, a group which
backs the ban's repeal and includes several prominent Republicans.
Collins to help inaugurate GOP-inclusive Oregon gay marriage group.)
On Saturday, Parrish, the
second-highest ranking member of the Oregon House GOP caucus, reacted
to the news in a
Facebook post, arguing that allowing gay couples to marry is a
“People have asked me my thoughts on
the marriage equality ballot initiative that will be voted on this
November, and whether I'm supporting it, and indeed, I am,” Parrish
said. “I have to shake my head when I read posts that say if
you're a Republican who supports this measure you're somehow rolling
over on your Republican principles just to agree with Democrats and
liberals. I can trace my Oregon Republican … roots back to the
1800's, as well as my family's contributions and extensive service to
the state as Republican business owners, farmers, soldiers, and
legislators. My kids are the eighth generation to live in Oregon,
and I'm teaching them the values I believe Oregon Republicans have
held since the first time someone in my family was elected in Oregon
in 1885. Freedom, equality, fairness, prosperity, opportunity, and
self-determination. The initiative in 2014 touches on all those
values. For my religiously conservative friends, enhancing the power
of the US Constitution's First Amendment freedom of religion by
memorializing and protecting the rights of your church in our state
constitution is a good thing. Under the proposed initiative, if your
church chooses not to marry a gay couple, it doesn't have to. If as
Republicans we truly embrace the values of freedom, equality, and
fairness, then I believe we must recognize that those rights should
be applied equally to all. If we believe in limited government, then
we should exercise restraint in picking and choosing what is limited.
I appreciate that being an Oregon Republican means that we can
proudly promote our personal, core values and if yours are different
than mine, that's ok. At the end of the day … we're all Oregonians
first and foremost.”
Week noted that Republicans supporting the initiative are at
odds with the Republican Party's official stance.
“The Oregon Republican Party believes
that the traditional family is ordained by God our Creator and is the
foundation of our society. A traditional family is formed through
the marriage of one man and one woman,” the Oregon GOP platform
adopted last August reads.