Activists Work On Gay Marriage Support

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ASHLAND, Ore. – Supporters of same-sex marriage say the success of ballot initiatives in other states could have an impact on Oregon. Those supporters hope to carry over that success and eventually overturn Oregon’s ban on gay marriage.

Last week, three states voted to approve same-sex marriage, and one rejected a potential ban. One week ago, four states decided in favor of same-sex marriages and supporters say it’s only a matter of time until that enthusiasm reaches Oregon.

Last week, Gina DuQuenne, the director of Southern Oregon Pride, watched as voters in Washington, Maryland, Maine and Minnesota supported same-sex marriages. Now, she says it’s time for Oregon to allow her to marry the woman she loves.

“’Gina, are you going to go to Washington?’ No, I’m not going to Washington, simply because if I were to go to Washington, once I come back home to Oregon my marriage would not be valid,” Gina said.

DuQuenne said the success of same-sex marriage initiatives in other states has her optimistic about support in Oregon.

“We can all be on the same page and work toward that common goal,” said Gina.

Oregon voters banned same-sex marriages in 2004. In 2008, a law went into effect allowing domestic partnerships for gay couples, which gave them many of the same rights as straight married couples, but DuQuenne says marriage means something more.

“Well, it’s not good enough,” DuQuenne explained. “Just the validation in the community, and the world itself, to be a married couple, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Jeana Frazzini is the executive director of Basic Rights Oregon, which has worked to overturn Oregon’s ban on gay marriages. She says the progress made in other states in this election could pave the way for support in Oregon in the next few years.

“It’s great news for Oregon, I think I’m more confident than ever that we will be the first state to overturn a constitutional ban on marriage,” Frazzini said. “Marriage equality means it’s fair and equal across the board, as it should be.”

There’s no immediate plans to get a same-sex marriage item on the ballot for 2014. Basic Rights Oregon has been trying to gather support at local and county levels and build on it until the next election.