Sponsors of a proposed ballot
initiative in Oregon which sought to allow businesses to discriminate
against gay men and lesbians said Friday they were suspending their
Friends of Religious Freedom acted a
day after the Oregon Supreme Court approved the ballot language.
The language as written by the office
of the Oregon attorney general states that a “yes” vote creates a
“religious belief” exception to the state's anti-discrimination
laws, which include sexual orientation.
In a statement released Friday, Friends
of Religious Freedom called the language unacceptable, saying the
certified ballot title “states it as intolerant instead of
protecting equal rights of conscience.”
campaign to derail the initiative backed by dozens of corporations
was announced on Friday.
Mike Marshall, campaign manager for
Oregon United Against Discrimination, said that more than 462
organizations and leaders, including 190 businesses and 167 faith
leaders, had joined the group.
“Oregonians have realized that this
measure would allow businesses to discriminate against people because
of who they are and whom they love,” Marshall said in a statement.
“And discrimination is just wrong.”
Friends of Religious Freedom said it
was considering filing a lawsuit on behalf of businesses that oppose
serving gay couples.