Tough Economy Impacts Gay Marriage Campaign in Oregon
It was announced earlier this week that gay rights supporters in Portland, Ore., would not carry on with an initiative campaign that could make Oregon the first state to vote to legalize gay marriage, according to an article by the Associated Press.
The organization Basic Rights Oregon has spent a number of months preparing the campaign but has decided to hold back due to the unstable economy. Officials of the group estimate that the campaign could cost more than $5 million.
"It’s a disappointing sort of position to be in. At the same time, it’s a tremendous opportunity," Jane Frazzini, Basic Rights Oregon’s director, told the news source. "The groundwork that’s been laid, the momentum we’ve created can only get stronger. This is on our terms and our timeline for the first time," she said.
Franzzi also claimed that Portland voters would be so concerned about their own families and jobs that they wouldn’t pay attention to an important social issue like marriage equality.
Those who oppose marriage equality are thrilled to hear the news.
"We think that’s best for Oregon right now," Teresa Harke, communications director for the Oregon Family Council, tells the AP. "It’s a bad time for Oregon to be dealing with a divisive issue like this."
In Washington, however, several Democrats, Republicans and gay marriage supporters aren’t letting the poor economy get in their way. They are working on the "Commitment Campaign," which will attempt to change the main argument about gay marriage from equal rights to "promoting the value of commitment," reported USA Today. The campaign, which began earlier this week, is lead by the Democrat group Third Way.
The organization wants to base the main argument of gay marriage around the "value of commitment" because it may appeal to the beliefs of citizens who have not made a solid stand on gay marriage.
"In this fast-evolving issue, we’re all searching for common ground," the Governor of Maryland and supporter of Third Way, Martin O’Malley, told US Today. "And the way to have a conversation with those who would be inclined not to support marriage equality is to search for those common values that we share."
The Chairman of the California Log Cabin Republicans, Charles Moran, claims that the new argument is a unique way of explaining why gay marriage is important. He also says that there is a "fundamental flaw" in the way the LGBT community has argued the issue in the past, the news source reported.
This new way of thinking has even impacted a number of gay-rights organizations, such as the Human Rights Campaign. In October the group started a new Internet campaign where well-respected African Americans spoke about marriage equality. Julian Bond, former chairman of the NAACP was part of the campaign and said gay and lesbian couples "have the same values as everyone else - love, commitment and stable families."
The President of Third Way, Jonathan Cowan said that the win for gay marriage in New York was a landmark victory and that gaining support from voters will be just as important as winning in the courts.