- illustration by Leo Zarosinski
This isn't any surprise, but it's finally official: same-sex marriage advocates say they're abandoning a petition effort to get the state's now-illegal definition of marriage out of the Oregon constitution.
"We are very confident we no longer need the ballot measure," Oregon United for Marriage Deputy Campaign Manager Amy Ruiz wrote in a release. "We have won—and we aren’t going to let anyone take this away from us."
The announcement follows Monday's ruling by US District Judge Michael McShane that the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Oregon United for Marriage has long said it would scrap the ballot measure effort if they won a favorable court ruling.
But many advocates still hope to get the "one man and one woman" definition of marriage—voted up by 2004's Measure 36—out of the Oregon constitution. Yes, the state's same-sex marriages are solid for now, but there's lingering uncertainty about how the US Supreme Court will eventually rule on one of the many decisions overturning marriage bans around the country.
"Obviously it’s one of the major reasons that all of us want to repeal Measure 36," said David Fidanque, executive director of the ACLU of Oregon. "I think most of us wanna do that sooner rather than later."
But advocates see challenges after McShane's ruling. Since Oregon is perceived to have won on the issue, Fidanque said, national money might go to campaigns in states where the battle is still raging. Also, he notes: "In every state where there’s been a judicial decision in favor of marriage, there’s been a backlash among voters. There’s no way to know how long that backlash would last, or how big it will be."
Fidanque says the ACLU is eyeing a ballot measure fight in 2016.