Same-Sex Marriage
When the rights of a few citizens are denied or taken, the rights of
all are in jeopardy.- Lowell Greenberg

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Same Sex Marriage/Domestic Partnership in Oregon

"Wear a white ribbon in support of marriage equality for same-sex couples. The ribbon is like the red one for AIDS awareness. We are hoping this will put the words “marriage equality” on everyone’s lips, bringing us all closer to FULL equality."- Glenn Amoroso & Keith Charbonneau


"Because marriage is a basic human right & an individual personal choice; RESOLVED, the State should not interfere with same-gender couples who choose to marry and share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities, & commitment of civil marriage." - Sign the Marriage Declaration!

"No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,"- U.S. Constitution 14th amendment: the true marriage amendment

“Today, Spanish society is responding to a group of people who for years have been humiliated, whose rights have been ignored, their dignity offended, their identity denied and their freedom restricted. Today, Spanish society grants them the respect they deserve, recognizes their rights, restores their dignity, affirms their identity, and restores their liberty... We are not the first [country to legalize same-sex marriage] and I am sure we will not be the last.” - Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero addressing the Congress of Deputies which voted to legalize full same-sex marriage and adoption, June 30, 2005.

"Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in his Letter From Birmingham Jail in 1963 that “I had…hoped the white moderate would reject the myth concerning time in relation to the struggle for freedom…. [Some were arguing that civil rights needed to wait for a ‘more convenient season.’] Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely rational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills.…Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be coworkers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.” - Cheryl Jacques, former head of the Human Rights Campaign, The Advocate, 1/7/2005. Also:

"Separate is not equal. That was the fundamental message Chief Justice Earl Warren of the U.S. Supreme Court de­livered in the historic 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education..."

"Long discredited, "separate but equal" is rearing its head in the same-sex-marriage debate, in the form of a proposal to restrict gays and lesbians to civil unions..."
"Yet, at bottom, the flaw in the "separate but equal" marriage pro­posal is the same as that identified by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Brown case. Denying gays and les­bians the right to marry (while permitting them to enter into relation­ships that bear all the legal attributes of marriage) can only be based on the discriminatory assumption that gays and lesbians are un­worthy to participate in the legal and social institution of marriage."- Civil union is not real marriage: Patrick Monahan, dean of Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, 1/26/05


Update: US Senate Approves DADT Repeal! 12/18/2010

In a historic vote Saturday morning that seemed highly improbable just weeks earlier, the U.S. Senate approved a stand-alone bill 63-33 to repeal the military’s 17-year-old ban on lesbians and gays serving openly in the military. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the same piece of legislation earlier this week, and the bill is now headed to President Barack Obama’s desk for signature.

Comment: This repeal is a a significant advancement of LGBT rights in the United States- yet there is still much more to be done. Stiffer laws against hate crimes, much better protections for transgender citizens, LGBT marriage- with all of the benefits and rights conferred on opposite sex married couples, protection against bullying and harassment in schools and the work place, access to spouse health care plans and retirement benefits- in other words: full legitimacy in the eyes of the law and society.

Same Sex Marriage/Domestic Partnership in Oregon

Update 5/2007

"In 2004, Oregonians approved Measure 36, a Constitutional Amendment that defined marriage as “between one man and one woman.”

With marriage constitutionally precluded for families headed by same-sex couples, Oregonians sought to identify a different way to offer those families some measure of security. A panel of business, faith and community leaders was appointed by Governor Kulongoski to explore the issue. Based on their recommendations, the Oregon Family Fairness Act (HB 2007) and Oregon Equality Act (SB 2) were introduced in Salem in early 2007.

The Oregon Family Fairness Act created Domestic Partnerships for same-sex couples and their families, while the Oregon Equality Act remedied the discrimination that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Oregonians experienced at work, in housing and public accommodation (such as hotels and restaurants) and in other important areas.

Both bills passed the Legislature with bipartisan support. In May 2007, Governor Kulongoski signed them into law into a law. Both laws are supposed to go into effect on January 1, 2008."- Basic Rights Oregon

Update 4/14/2005

State Supreme Court Rules, and Now It is Time to Take Action: Words from Evan Wolfson at Freedom to Marry

"Today the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that the courageous local officials who moved last year to end discrimination in marriage regrettably lacked the authority to take action as they did. The Court turned on deficiencies not in the couples, nor in the impulse of many non-gay and gay Oregonians to fight for equality, but, rather, in the current discriminatory law.

Here's what today's narrow, technical Supreme Court ruling did not take away:

The love we saw in those 3000 couples who came forward to marry, surrounded in joy and celebration by their children, parents, relatives, friends, and neighbors. These committed same-sex couples, gay and lesbian Oregonians, are not going to vanish.

The personal commitment each one of those couples has made in their lives. These Oregonians are doing the hard work of marriage in their lives -- caring for one another, dreaming dreams, pooling resources, building lives together, raising children, worrying about aging parents, fighting over who takes out the garbage, juggling who's going to drop the kids off at soccer.

The moral obligation of government not to put obstacles in the path of people seeking to care for one another, but, rather, to treat all people equally, protect all families, and support our common human aspirations for liberty, equality, and the pursuit of happiness with our loved ones. Current law falls short of the fairness and duty of care that mark a free and good society.

No, neither the court ruling nor the recent discriminatory constitutional amendment could take away the love, commitment, and values at stake in this long-haul civil-rights battle to end exclusion from marriage and equal protections for families.

What the court ruling did take away for today, though, was the legal commitment the couples sought to undertake through marriage, just like other Americans, to match the personal commitment in their lives. The court said that the county lacked the authority to issue marriage licenses to these committed couples and -- until the new discriminatory constitutional amendment restricting marriage to different-sex couples is removed – same-sex couples may not exercise the freedom to marry that is a birthright of all Americans.

Couples willing to make a commitment in life deserve a commitment in law as well. The Supreme Court's ruling further underscores that Oregon must move now to provide these families with the protections and security we all deserve -- and if for now it is not going to be marriage, then it must be the next best thing, a parallel legal structure of responsibilities, rules, and respect . Governor Ted Kulongoski was right yesterday to call on the legislature to act immediately to meet this "great moral challenge" by enacting the civil union law (SB 1000) proposed by a bipartisan group of senators and supported by a coalition led by Basic Rights Oregon. Surely Oregonians do not want to continue to subject their gay neighbors to a cruel catch-22, saying that family protections can only be obtained through marriage, and you may not marry.

The couples who married last year remain married in their hearts. They didn't use up the marriage licenses available in Oregon last year, and no one is any better off today because their legal marriages were taken away. Oregon's legislators must begin to cure the injustice and injury by making available to these couples the tangible legal and economic duties and obligations families need to get through crises as well as the ordinary ups and downs of life.

If not marriage now, then, for now, civil union. There is no other moral way to move forward. The couples have shown their commitment in love and caring. Are Oregon's representatives equally committed to all families and fairness?"

Update March 25, 2005

On March 3,2005, one year after Multnomah county's historic decision to allow same-sex marriage, nearly 1,000 Oregonians went to the State Capitol to lobby for fairness and equality for all Oregonians. In the words of Roey Thorpe, the Director of Basic Rights Oregon:

"One year ago today, we stood in the rain and we believed. We believed in each other. We believed in our state and our country. We had hope and we were fueled by the promise of our dreams.

Here we are one year later. We have been up. We have been down. We have won and we’ve lost. People might think that we are defeated, but we are not! We have never given up! We will never give up! We are not going away!

We’re here. We deserve to be here. We’re here today to say this is our Oregon too. We are here for ourselves, for our children and our grandchildren because we dare to dream of a state where love trumps fear, where honesty never bows under the weight of secrets, where silence borne of shame has no place.

We dream of an Oregon—OUR Oregon—where people do not leave the places they grew up and the families they love because they are unable to live a lie. Our Oregon is an Oregon where young people never question whether life is worth living, where faith comforts but does not condemn, where the gifts that each of us has to offer can be used and appreciated, where difference is honored instead of reviled.

Prejudice has no place in this Oregon—in OUR Oregon. Bigotry and judgment are no where to be found. Families are not torn apart, employees feel fully confident in their value, people live in their neighborhoods and communities and are never afraid to leave their homes or be seen with the person they love.

In OUR Oregon, civil rights are for all of us and don’t depend on your zip code. In our Oregon, fairness and equality shine even when the sun does not.

We are here today. We are parents, neighbors, teachers, grandparents, clergy, students and taxpayers and we are voters. We are here to say that this is our Oregon too!

You know, the modern gift for a first anniversary is a clock and that is especially appropriate today because our time has come.

This is our moment in time and we are not going away. We have waited long enough for the simple equality and fairness that our state should offer every Oregonian and we ask every person in our state who shares our vision of fairness, of equality, of unity and above all our vision of love, to stand with us, demand that the Oregon Basic Fairness Act  be passed and that civil unions become the law—demand justice and equality for all!"

Update: 1/31/05: Basic Rights Oregon Attorneys File Lawsuit Challenging Constitutionality of Measure 36 Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

"Basic Rights Oregon attorneys filed a lawsuit today on behalf of Oregon voters challenging the constitutionality of Measure 36, a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage approved by Oregon voters on November 2, 2004."

Commentary: Given the aftermath of the Amendment 36 vote in Oregon (see below), I praise Basic Rights Oregon for issuing a state constitutional challenge that I believe is sound and will prevail in the courts- Lowell Greenberg

On November 2, 2004, the state of Oregon officially made LGBT people second class citizens by passing Amendment 36 to the Oregon Constitution, banning same sex marriage. The sense of loss in our community is deep. As a community we feel disenfranchised and used.

Mississippi and Montana just banned same-sex marriage as well. Michigan joined Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, N. Dakota, Oklahoma and Utah in also banning civil unions and domestic partnerships. Ohio, the schizophrenic swing state, went even further. Buckeye voters, by a 3-2 margin, prevents granting any benefits to same-sex partners-that means even if a company wanted to provide domestic partner benefits, it probably can’t.

Basic Rights Oregon (BRO) waged a Campaign to defeat Amendment 36 that had over 9,000 volunteers; reached a quarter of a million voters and raised over 2.8 MILLION dollars from nearly 10,000 individual contributors.

I am proud of the money, blood, sweat and tears contribution made by the BRO staff and national groups such as the Human Rights Commission and the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force.

I am proud of the many supportive LGBT and straight citizens in Oregon & throughout the country who openly opposed the Amendment and supported our community.

I am proud of the contributions and sacrifices I and my many wonderful gay and straight friends made to the Campaign. Over the course of the Campaign, I lost my job, had signs vandalized and had the air taken out of my car tires. During the Campaign I spoke and raised money at house parties, individually contributed, canvassed, volunteered at fund raisers, manned the phone bank, wrote on the subject and stood for what I believed.

I am proud of the courageous stand taken by Multnomah County Oregon Commissioners Diane Linn, Maria Rojo de Steffey, Serena Cru & Lisa Naito that allowed 3,022 couples to be married in Multnomah County (Portland, Oregon) last Spring.

I am proud of Benton County Oregon Commissioners Linda Modrell, Jay Dixon and Annabelle Jaramillo for the courageous stand they took in banning all marriage in Benton until Oregon courts ruled on the legality of same-sex marriage.

The fight has just begun and the struggle may be long and arduous. Below is a statement from Roey Thorpe, Executive Director of Basic Rights Oregon.


I know this is a hard time for all of us.

This has been an amazing year of highs and lows, victories and defeats. Many of us felt the joy of marrying our long-time partners this year. And now we know the pain of having the right to that marriage put to a public vote.

But let me tell you, this is not the way to decide social policy -  the Constitution was designed exactly for the purpose of preventing the rights of a minority from being determined by the whims of a majority.

The very notion that our Constitution can be changed to deny rights to a minority with a vote of a simple majority of those who turn out is ludicrous. We have higher standards for passing a school bond levy.

No matter what our opponents say, this is not a mandate on the rights of gay and lesbian people.

Polls show that 80% of Oregonians support protecting gays and lesbians. But in this short campaign cycle, Oregonians didn't have time to fully digest the true consequences of this amendment and how it will hurt gays and lesbians and our families. We will not give up.

Many states lost tonight far worse than we did. To come as close as we did is certainly a moral victory. But this loss is harder on us in Oregon. In part, it's harder because after defeating three statewide ballot measures, we know what it feels like to win.

But it's also harder for us because we know more than any other state that faced this amendment this year WHAT WE ARE BEING DENIED.

So many of us have made huge sacrifices for the right to be equal and the right to have our relationships recognized, or to help others take their rightful place in our state.

And we aren't going to let tonight's defeat stop us.

Here's what I know: you don't get civil rights by sitting around waiting for them to fall in your lap. You don't get them without sacrifice and risk and pain. We are paying that price now. This is a painful setback. But on the road to equality and freedom, there are always setbacks. There are always sacrifices. There are always moments that seem like they are too much to bear, and times when we give so much of ourselves that it seems too unbelievably cruel when we don't prevail.

This is one of those times. But I want you to look around you, at the good people who are in this room, and I want us to think about all the people of this state who have stood with us. And I want you to think of the many, many people who have changed their minds because of our work on this campaign. All of those who were able to question their assumptions, to open their hearts, to walk in someone else's shoes.

If we say now that it's just too hard to keep fighting, then we are turning our backs on all of those victories. We can't do that.

This campaign has been a learning experience for all of us, and for all Oregonians as well. We may not have gotten a majority tonight, but all the momentum on this issue is going our way.

Because of our work, social attitudes on same-sex marriage are shifting daily. I have no doubt that if this election were held a week from now that we would have won.

Look how far we've come. A year ago, how many of us would have dreamed that same sex couples would marry in our lifetimes? How many of us would have thought that Oregon would be ground zero for this issue? Have no fear our children will find the idea of banning same-sex marriage as inconceivable as the idea of banning inter-racial or inter-faith marriage.

We will remember this moment, because it will be impossible to forget the pain of this loss.

But we have to dust ourselves off and get back on our path. There will be future victories and there will be future defeats. But our victories will always outnumber the defeats, because we are on the side of true love. The true love we feel for our same sex partners, the true love we feel for our family and friends who deserve the right to marry, the true love we feel for this state and this country, both of which have always stood for freedom and equality. True love cannot be defeated, and although we may not have won at the polls tonight, we know that the love that we have shown throughout our entire campaign has changed this state.

Tonight, let's celebrate what we've accomplished, and let's support each other in this painful moment. And tomorrow, we'll get back out there and continue this fight, in the courts, in the legislature, and everywhere we need to be. Let's stick together and see this through until we win, for all of us, and because we believe in Oregon. --Roey Thorpe

Andrew Sullivan- The Divider Bush's Domestic Legacy
"...If gay couples get married, then somehow straights will not. But why not both? Why cannot marriage be defined by the virtues it includes rather than by the people it excludes? Why cannot marriage bring us together rather than tear us apart?

The answer alas, is that this president has decided it will help him politically to tear us apart. His base is restless over spending and Iraq, and this is a means to placate and energize them. If that means turning a tiny minority into a lethal threat to civilization, so be it. If that minority's sole crime is to seek to live up to the same responsibilities as everyone else, to uphold the family, to support responsibility, then that also is beside the point. In this battle, the president has shown his true colors. He is a divider, not a uniter." - Andrew Sullivan, 7/20/04

Senate Scuttles Amendment Banning Same-Sex Marriage
"The Senate voted today to block a White House-backed constitutional amendment to bar same-sex marriages, dooming its prospects for approval by Congress this year but ensuring it an emotionally-charged role during campaigns this fall.

"...Republicans had hoped to win at least a simple majority in favor of proceeding with the amendment but were thwarted when six of their own colleagues joined all but three Democrats in voting to scuttle the measure without a vote on its substance. Several senators had said there would have been even more "no" votes if the showdown had occurred on substance rather than procedure. -  Helen Dewar and Alan Cooperman, Washington Post, 7/14/04

Massachusetts begins gay marriages
BOSTON - City clerks began handing out marriage-license applications to gay couples just after midnight Sunday, making Massachusetts the first state in the nation to legalize same-sex unions and the United States just one of four countries in the world where homosexuals can legally wed.- Associated Press, 5/17/04

"But contemporary conditions reflect something that didn't exist a generation ago: gay and lesbian Americans asserting their dignity and demanding equality. The opponents of gay marriage have only the frozen hand of tradition or sectarian claims without legal standing in a secular state with which to refuse full equality. No wonder they are so desperate." - David Moats, editorial page editor of the Rutland Herald and author of the book "Civil Wars: A Battle for Gay Marriage," from the Washington Post opinion column, Adapting Liberty To the Times, 12/26/2003.

"The state [of Massachusetts] "has failed to identify any constitutionally adequate reason for denying civil marriage to same-sex couples," the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court wrote. "Barred access to the protections, benefits and obligations of civil marriage, a person who enters into an intimate, exclusive union with another of the same sex is arbitrarily deprived of membership in one of our community's most rewarding and cherished institutions." -  "Mass. High Court Rules to Mandate Same-Sex Marriage - Decision Says Civil Unions Are Not Constitutional," Washington Post, 2/4/2004.

Conservatives fail to stop same-sex weddings in San Francisco, 2/24/04.

County accepts gay marriages: Multnomah County becomes the first in Oregon to license same-sex unions, joining an intense national debate, 3/4/04 

ACLU Calls Bush Support for Marriage Amendment Un-American; Proposal Would Write Discrimination Into the Constitution, 2/24/04

Responding to President Bush’s official endorsement of a constitutional amendment to deny marriage rights to same-sex and unmarried couples, the American Civil Liberties Union said that the amendment supported by the White House is much broader than advertised and would not only ban civil unions but could completely deny a broad range of government benefits to unmarried couples, be they gay or straight.

"President Bush's endorsement of this mean-spirited amendment shows that he is neither compassionate nor concerned with the rights of all Americans," said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. "Gays and lesbians are our neighbors, our co-workers, our friends. They serve as firefighters, police, doctors and professional athletes. They laugh at the same jokes and worry about car payments and credit card debt. Amending the constitution to deny them the same rights we all take for granted just isn’t very American." See Also: Bush endorses constitutional ban on gay marriage, 2/24/04

"I’m not interested as a mayor in moving forward with a separate but unequal process for people to engage in marriages,” Newsom [ of San Francisco] said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “The people of this city and certainly around the state are feeling that separate but unequal doesn’t make sense.”- 2/13/2004; See also: "Battle joined over same-sex marriage: Regional cases foreshadow fight over U.S. Constitution," Kari Huus, MSNBC

I am a staunch supporter of same-sex marriage. This is true not only because I am gay and have pride in myself and other LGBT individuals. Most LGBT people are normal, healthy individuals who deeply love and care for their significant others. While the weakening of the institution of marriage may be reflected in high divorce rates-  the sanctity and beauty of marriage is strengthened when extended to LGBT couples who seek a life time of love, commitment and sharing. - Lowell Greenberg

Below are quotes from November 2003 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision that same-sex couples have the legal right to marry.

"We declare that barring an individual from the protections, benefits, and obligations of civil marriage solely because that person would marry a person of the same-sex violates the Massachusetts Constitution."

"Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support. It brings stability to our society. For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial and social benefits. In return, it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations."

"The Massachusetts Constitution affirms the dignity and equality of all individuals." It forbids the creation of second-class citizens."

"Same-sex couples are our neighbors, our coworkers, our friends who volunteer in schools and worship beside us in our religious houses."

"We share a common humanity and participate together in the social contract that is the foundation of our Commonwealth."  Simple principles of decency dictate that we extend to the plaintiffs, and to their new status, full acceptance, tolerance, and respect. We should do so because it is the right thing to do."


California Court Affirms Right to Gay Marriage, 5/15/2008

"Chief Justice George conceded that "as an historical matter in this state marriage has always been restricted to a union between a man and a woman." But "tradition alone," the chief justice continued, does not justify the denial of a fundamental constitutional right. Bans on interracial marriage were, he wrote, sanctioned by the state for many years."

Al Gore: Gay Men and Women Ought to Have Marriage Rights, 1/24/2008

"...I think it’s wrong for the government to discriminate against people because of that person’s sexual orientation. I think that gay men and women ought to have the same rights as heterosexual men and women -- to make contracts, to have hospital visiting rights, to join together in marriage, and I don’t understand why it is considered by some people to be a threat to heterosexual marriage to allow it by gays and lesbians. Shouldn’t we be promoting the kind of faithfulness and loyalty to one’s partner regardless of sexual orientation? Because if you don’t do that, then to that extent you’re promoting promiscuity -- you’re promoting all the problems that can result from promiscuity. And the loyalty and love that two people feel for one another when they fall in love ought to be celebrated and encouraged and shouldn’t be prevented by any form of discrimination in the law."

New Jersey Court Stops Short of Marriage Equality
"Thursday, 10-26-06 -- Yesterday, the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to the same state benefits, protections, and obligations as different-sex couples. The court split, however, on how to remedy current state law.

The majority ruled that the New Jersey State Legislature must comply with the constitution by amending state laws to allow equal marriage rights or create a legal status like civil unions. Three dissenting judges argued that the only correct solution, however, is to grant gay and lesbian couples the fundamental right to marry."

New York's highest court rejects marriage equality, 7/7/2006
"...Susan Sommer, senior counsel at Lambda Legal, highlighted a line in the dissenting opinion written by Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye, who asserted that she is "confident that future generations will look back on today's decision as an unfortunate misstep." "Well, our next step is clear," Sommer said, "and that is to go to the New York state legislature and ask the elected officials who are here to represent all New Yorkers to do what's right—to do what's good for these families and the whole state of New York.""

Texas Approves Gay Marriage Ban, Maine Staves Off Anti-Gay Threat, 11/9/2005

Schwarzenegger 'Sold Us Out' Gay Group Says As Gov. Announces Gay Marriage Bill Veto, 9/7/2005

Canadian Parliament stands by the Charter: Same Sex Marriage is Legal in Canada: Reflections on people, brave and determined, 6/28/2005

Spain makes gay marriages legal, 6/30/2005
"We were not the first, but I am sure we will not be the last. After us will come many other countries, driven, ladies and gentlemen, by two unstoppable forces: freedom and equality."- Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero

Judge strikes down California gay marriage ban
Ruling says there is ‘no rational purpose’ for limiting unions, 3/14/2005

SAN FRANCISCO - A judge ruled Monday that California's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional — a legal milestone that, if upheld on appeal, would open the way for the most populous state to follow Massachusetts in allowing same-sex couples to wed. Judge Richard Kramer of San Francisco County's trial-level Superior Court likened the ban to laws requiring racial segregation in schools, and said there appears to be "no rational purpose" for denying marriage to gay couples.

New York Court Rules Gays Must Be Allowed To Marry, 2/4/2005

"The court recognized that unless gay people can marry, they are not being treated equally under the law.  Same-sex couples need the protections and security marriage provides, and this ruling says they're entitled to get them the same way straight couples do." See also: Gay Marriage Speech, 7/1/2005, Doug Direland.

Gay Marriage To Be Legal In Canada by Summer Gov't Says: by Jim Brown, Canadian Press, 1/10/2005

Canada's High Court OK's Gay Marriage,

Ashcroft Intervenes In Gay Marriage Suit, 10/28/2004

Amendment Banning La. Gay Marriage Tossed, 10/05/2004

LGBT leaders decry 3 Republican convention speakers

God invalidates the California supreme court

"PORTLAND, OR - The American Civil Liberties Union appeared before the Oregon Supreme Court today to ask the court to rule that the Oregon Constitution requires that same-sex couples receive the same legal protections as couples that get married." - ACLU, Gay and Lesbian Rights, 12/15/2004

"The decision stripping away rights from more than 4,000 gay & lesbian couples duly married in San Francisco is a legal blow, but it can’t invalidate commitments made before God and community. The strength of our love will continue to propel our struggle for equality."  The Advocate, 8/04

House passes ban on gay marriage rulings:
Would bar decisions by federal judges on states' recognition, Jessica E. Vascellaro, Globe Correspondent, July 23, 2004

"The Republican-controlled House of Representatives yesterday approved a bill banning federal courts and the US Supreme Court from deciding whether a state must recognize same-sex unions legalized elsewhere. While Democrats opposed the bill as an unconstitutional subversion of minority rights, Republicans celebrated the passage of the Marriage Protection Act as a necessary check against federal judges who may decide that a same-sex marriage that took place in Massachusetts, the only state where it is legal, must be recognized by another state."

Bush Heads Toward Defeat on Gay Marriage Measure

"WASHINGTON - President Bush's election-year bid to amend the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage headed toward a lopsided defeat on Capitol Hill on Tuesday." -  Thomas Ferraro, Reuters, 7/13/04

Virginia anti-gay law among the nation's most restrictive

"RICHMOND, Va. — Gay activists in Virginia are toying with a new motto for the state: "Virginia is for lovers. Some restrictions apply."

Gays and lesbians are angry and even threatening to leave the state over a new law that will prohibit civil unions and could interfere with contracts between same-sex couples.

Some legal experts call it the most restrictive anti-gay law in the nation.

"I won't buy a home in Virginia. I'm done," said Bo Shuff, a 30-year-old gay-rights activist who has rented in the Washington suburb of Arlington the past two years.

Edna Johnston, a lesbian who has scuttled plans to move her historic-preservation consulting business from Washington to northern Virginia, said, "It's not a signal, it's a message: 'You're not welcome."'

"...For the Virginia Legislature to go as far as they did, knowing that this is probably unconstitutional, to me it is a political statement," said Henry Fradella, a law professor at the College of New Jersey who specializes in gay-rights law. "I have not seen anything quite so radical." - Justin  Bergman, Associated Press, The Seattle Times, 6/26/04.

Judge denies 11th hour bid to stop gay marriages

BOSTON (AP) A federal judge Thursday rejected a last-minute bid by conservative groups to block the nation's first state-sanctioned gay marriages from taking place in Massachusetts next week.- Ken Maguire, Associated Press, 5/13/2004

Massachusetts begins gay marriages
BOSTON - City clerks began handing out marriage-license applications to gay couples just after midnight Sunday, making Massachusetts the first state in the nation to legalize same-sex unions and the United States just one of four countries in the world where homosexuals can legally wed.- Associated Press, 5/17/04


ACLU : Lesbian & Gay Rights |
Get Busy, Get Equal

Alliance for Same-Sex Marriage

Basic Rights Oregon
Ending discrimination based on sexual
orientation and gender identity in Oregon.

Freedom To Marry
Gay & non-gay partnership working to win
marriage equality nationwide.

Equal Marriage for Same-Sex Couples
Web site of Kevin Bourassa & Joe Varnell one of
Canada's most celebrated gay couples.

Supporting legal and social sanction of Lesbian
& Gay relationships and families.

Gay and Lesbian Weddings: Planning
the Perfect Same-Sex Ceremony

"For those actually planning their nuptials, there’s
Gay and Lesbian Weddings, which answers questions
such as, “When two men have a wedding, is there a
father-son dance?”  In this smart, concise guide to
gay unions, David Toussaint answers questions
of taste, style, and etiquette that will spare you
hours of prenuptial bickering." from The
Advocate article, "I Do by the Book," by Regina Miller,

HRC Marriage Center

Lambda Legal-Marriage Project
Lambda Legal’s Marriage Project is committed to winning the right to marry for LGBT people. Denying equal access to marriage deprives LGBT people of critical rights, protections and responsibilities and violates our nation's fundamental guarantee of equality for everyone.

Marriage Equality | Marriage Equality California
Marriage Equality began as an idea in 1996 with a handful of activists believing that same-sex couples should have the freedom and the right to civil marriage, and angry that the federal government wanted to pass a law barring gay people from this right. The organization was officially founded and formed February 12, 1998, on National Freedom To Marry Day. The New York chapter became so successful that activists in California, responding to that state’s 2000 anti-marriage referendum, began Marriage Equality California.

Marriage Fairness
The federal government affords married couples more than 1049 rights and privileges that are not available to non-married couples (not to mention the hundreds of rights provided by state and local government). is about putting a human face on same sex marriage. This has become a very divisive issue in the US, and much of the population has very strongly held beliefs on both sides of the issue. The American public can be open minded, when they hear both sides of an issue. To help people understand why this is such an important issue to the gay community we are asking you to Tell Your Story.

Multnomah County, Oregon
Multnomah County (Portland, Oregon and surrounding communities) has, under the leadership of county commissioner Diane Linn and others, been a leader in allowing gays to marry in the United States. Quoting from a 4/20/04 statement from Ms. Linn, " Today the Circuit Court ruled very clearly that denying marriages to same-sex couples violates the Oregon Constitution. This ruling validates Multnomah County’s position of defending equality under the Oregon Constitution. At the same time, the judge ruled that the County must stop issuing licenses until the issue is fully resolved. My oath to uphold the Constitution led me to ensuring marriage equality 7 weeks ago. That same oath demands that I respect and abide by today’s ruling. Therefore, effective immediately, Multnomah County will temporarily suspend issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In compliance with the Judge’s order that the State fully honor the more than 3,000 licenses already issued, we will forward these licenses to the appropriate state agencies. Today is an historic day for marriage equality in Oregon, but it is just one step in a judicial process that will ultimately be decided by the Oregon Supreme Court.

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Marriage Center

Resource for activists, policymakers, opinion
leaders & Americans who are grappling with the
issue of marriage equality for same-sex couples.

Partners Task Force for Gay and Lesbian Couples
International resource for same-sex couples.
Contains essays, surveys, legal articles,&
resources on legal marriage, ceremonies,
domestic partner benefits, relationship tips,
parenting, & immigration.

Public Agenda: Gay Rights

Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry
Supports civil marriage rights for same gender
couples & seeks to promote dialogue within faith
communities about religious marriage for gay &
lesbian couples.

Victory Fund
The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund is a national
political organization that identifies, trains & supports
open lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender
candidates & officials. The Victory Fund is committed
to increasing the number of openly gay & lesbian public
officials at federal, state & local levels of government.

We Do: A Celebration of Gay and Lesbian Marriage
"Even if you loathe people who cry at weddings, we
defy you to read We Do, a slim book of photographs,
without tearing up. Edited by a San Francisco literary
agent who recently married her longtime partner—and
with a foreword by glam rebel mayor Gavin Newsom
this volume lets our pictures do the talking, to mighty
effect. We Do wins our early endorsement for best
pre–presidential election gift of 2004."- from The
Advocate article, "I Do by the Book," by Regina Miller,

Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay People's Right to Marry, by Evan Wolfson, Simon & Schuster, 8/2004

Why Marriage Matters offers a compelling and clear discussion of a question at the forefront of our national consciousness. It is the work of a brilliant civil rights litigator who has dedicated his life to the protection of individuals' rights and our Constitution's commitment to equal justice under the law. Above all, it is a thoughtful, straightforward book that brings into sharp focus the human significance of the right to marry in America -- not just for some couples, but for all. Whatever your personal beliefs, we all can agree that marriage equality provokes both passion and tension, and looms large in our nation's politics. Marriage means many things to many people -- emotionally, spiritually, intellectually -- but in these pages, Evan Wolfson demonstrates a truth that is undeniable: Marriage is the legal gateway to a vast array of tangible and intangible protections, responsibilities, and benefits, most of which cannot be replicated in any other way.
Wolfson is a formidable legal thinker who has participated in landmark cases to end race discrimination in jury trials, to secure the rights of battered married women, and to challenge the abuse of power at the highest level in government. Now, with extraordinary clarity, fascinating stories, and legal and historical examples, he addresses the questions we as Americans are asking ourselves as we consider how marriage equality will affect our lives. Why is the word marriage so important? What are the stakes for America in this civil rights movement? How can people of different faiths reconcile their beliefs with the idea of marriage for same-sex couples? How will allowing gay couples to marry affect children? Here you will find thorough, honest answers -- some that may surprise you, some that will persuade you, many that will move you. Wolfson recalls the history of past battles over marriage and movements for equality, and articulates the everyday acts of discrimination that frame this current movement -- acts of discrimination that, if faced by non-gay Americans, would provoke a resounding cry of injustice. sMarriage matters because it is a foundation upon which most Americans build dreams. It is the cornerstone of commitment one individual makes to another -- a commitment we are taught is the highest expression of love, dedication, and responsibility. In this, the most powerful, authoritative, and fairly articulated book on the subject, Wolfson demonstrates why the right to marry is important -- indeed necessary -- for all couples and for America's promise of equality.


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