Under the innocuous-sounding title of "The Student Protection Act," the religious-based organization is sponsoring a ballot initiative aimed at gutting the broad topic of homosexuality from public school curriculum.
The proposed law states that any instruction or discussion relating to sexual orientation would not be allowed in Oregon's public schools. The penalty for permitting such discussions would be the removal of funding from that school.
"It was developed in order to preserve the innocence of our youth, or what's left of it," said OCA chairman Lon Maybon, explaining the mission of the measure.
This latest drive by the OCA to place the issue on November's ballot has re-ignited smoldering feuds. In 1992, a record number of Oregon voters debated Ballot Measure 9, an initiative that the OCA hoped would prevent gays from holding any "special rights." The initiative suffered a slim defeat (53 percent to 47 percent) in a vicious political battle.
Several equal rights organizations around Portland are rallying to stop the initiative even before it reaches the ballot. Throughout June and July, Radical Women is sponsoring "Bigot Busters," rallies with the intent of informing a wide audience about OCA's recent maneuvers.
Jordana Sardo, the local organizer of Radical Women, drew parallels between OCA's proposed laws and the racist public school systems that Civil Rights Law overturned in the early Sixties. "Ballot measures like this directly threaten equal rights in our public schools," said a very passionate Sardo. "Just because they wear suits and ties doesn't mean that the sheets aren't there."
With less than three weeks remaining until the July 7 deadline to collect signatures, the initiative remains just 20,000 short of the requisite 100,000.