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 reads.

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.