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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

PDX Prop 8 Reaction: Two Steps Forward, One Back

Posted by Matt Davis on Tue, May 26, 2009 at 12:27 PM

We've been calling local gay rights activists this morning for their reaction to the Prop 8 news. Don't forget tonight's rally in Waterfront Park from 6pm.

"I'm deeply disappointed in the court's decision," says Basic Rights Oregon director Jeana Frazzini. "At the same time I'm encouraged that they will continue to recognize the thousands of marriages of couples currently married throughout the state."

"If anything, the California decision fuels the fire for fair-minded Oregonians," Frazzini continues. "It strengthens our resolve to grow the outreach effort and send people to our get engaged resources so that they can start having the conversation around marriage equality."

"As disappointing as this decision is, the march of history is on our side," says Frazzini, citing recent marriage equality victories in Vermont, Iowa and Maine. "But really, it emphasizes the need to be having these conversations. The exclusion from marriage is having an everyday impact on the lives of real Oregon families, whether it's being excluded from the bedside of loved ones or carrying our legal documents across state lines, or wondering how our kids are being treated in schools."

"It's two steps forward and one step back," says Human Rights Campaign co-founder and prominent Portlander Terry Bean. "Although I think it was unfortunately expected. We just keep fighting, and we know, and they know that eventually we're going to win all these civil rights battles."

Will the Prop 8 ruling impact Oregon's battle for marriage equality?

"I don't think so," says Bean. "It's a court ruling on a ballot measure. We're eventually going to win on this inequality. But what a lot of people don't realize is that it's still legal to fire someone in 30 states just because you think they're gay or lesbian. I'm pleased they retained the 18,000 marriages that have already taken place, but on the other hand it just underscores some of the absurdity in the equality."

Meanwhile Stephen Marc Beaudoin, the voice of qu-authority here at the Merc, sends this reaction email:

"I'm fucking angry about this California decision today: it is cowardly, backwards-looking and a little bit baffling. While I understand the need to uphold the sanctity of the citizen initiative process - and at the same time applaud the Court for rightly upholding the sanctity of the 18,000 same sex couples that did legally wed while it was legal to do so - no Court should make decisions in a cultural vacuum. Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, Maine (not to mention Canada, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, etc etc!). The tide is turning on marriage equality. California will eventually catch up. As will Oregon."

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