Google, Nike and Alaska Airlines are
among the more than 160 businesses opposed to a proposed ballot
initiative in Oregon which would allow businesses to discriminate
against gay men and lesbians.
The businesses endorsed Oregon United
Against Discrimination, the campaign to derail the proposed measure,
during a Friday morning press conference held in Portland.
Sixty-four of the businesses have taken
out the campaign's first ads, which are running in the Portland
Businesses Journal and in the online version of The Oregonian.
“We want Oregon to be a great place
to start and grow a business, and a place where employees can thrive
in an inclusive work environment and welcoming community,” the ad
The initiative is sponsored by Oregon
Family Council, the Christian conservative group that spearheaded the
2004 campaign that led to passage of the state's constitutional
amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual unions.
Teresa Harke, communications director
for Oregon Family Council, told the Portland
Tribune that the measure was needed to protect marriage
equality opponents who are afraid to speak their minds.
“They've almost been beaten down to
the point where they're afraid to speak out,” Harke said.
Currently, Oregon recognizes the
out-of-state marriages of gay couples and is widely believed to be
next in line to legalize marriage. A
majority of Oregon voters support a proposed ballot initiative which
would repeal the ban. And state officials have called on a
federal judge to rule in favor of plaintiff couples challenging the
ban in court.