Marriage Equality to be on the Ballot in Oregon in 2014
On Monday, Oregon United for Marriage Equality announced that it has submitted the "Freedom to Marry and Religious Protection Initiative" to the Oregon Secretary of State's office, with the hope of getting it on the ballot in 2014. 2012 represented the first time marriage equality was passed by popular vote, in Maine, Maryland and Washington. Basic Rights Oregon Executive Director Jeana Frazzini said, "we are inviting our partners and supporters to take this next step with us: To sign the sponsorship petition, and commit to uniting Oregon in support of the freedom to marry for all Oregonians." On Valentine's Day, volunteers will be out all over the state of Oregon trying to get the necessary signatures for the first sponsorship.
As the support begins to rally, so too will the opposition. It is the responsibility of the media, not just LGBT advocates, to clarify and correct falsehoods or half-truths put forward by anti-gay activists. Journalists cannot allow these groups to mislead the public on marriage equality's effect on education, religious institutions or family.
When marriage equality was on the ballot in Maine and Washington, anti-gay activists aired ads produced by Frank Schubert that claimed to examine the negative impact that the passage of similar laws had on individuals' in other states, such as Massachusetts and Vermont. Equality Matters debunked each claim, and journalists like Bill Nemitz in Maine, and papers like the Seattle Times in Washington directly addressed and criticized the ads. Journalists in Oregon will need to step forward and ensure that people hear the absolute truth. Journalists cannot just present both sides as fair and equal representations of the truth, they must corroborate what they quote.