An Oregon petition drive to put the
issue of gay marriage before voters next year has hit its goal of
116,284 signatures needed to qualify for the 2014 ballot.
The group Oregon United for Marriage
announced the milestone Saturday in an email to supporters.
“It's been just four months since we
started gathering signatures on the Freedom to Marry and Religious
Protection Initiative,” said Ryan Brown, the group's field
director. “Thanks to volunteer signature gatherers in every Oregon
county, I have some amazing news to share: We have over 116,284
signatures in hand!”
Signature gathering will continue to
guard against failing to qualify due to invalid or duplicate
If successful, the referendum would
reverse the state's 2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment
limiting marriage to heterosexual couples and Oregon would make
history as the first state to repeal a marriage ban.
Last month, Oregon Family Council, the
Christian conservative group that spearheaded the amendment campaign,
announced it was working on a ballot initiative that would allow
businesses and individuals to refuse participating in or supporting
same-sex unions, including marriage, civil unions or domestic
partnerships. Since 2007, Oregon has recognized gay couples with
Teresa Harke, the group's
communications director, told the Portland
Tribune that the measure was needed to protect marriage
equality opponents who are afraid to speak their minds.