Friday, February 15, 2013

It's a basic right

Valentine's Day brought us great weather, celebration of love and Oregon's 154th birthday as a state.

Also, Basic Rights Oregon kicked off its campaign around the state, including Bend, to place a measure on the ballot in 2014 to finally legalize same-sex marriage in the Beaver State.

Basic Rights Oregon helped Washington pass its same-sex marriage measure in November, thereby helping the Evergreen State become the most liberal state in the Northwest.

Since then, Washington has not crumbled into the Pacific Ocean. Microsoft, Starbucks, Amazon and Boeing still are Fortune 500 companies. And, it still rains in Seattle. Sometimes for 40 days and 40 nights. No one is making a mockery of traditional marriages, except those who get married and divorced multiple times.

Nothing has changed other than scores of same-sex couples now have the same freedoms and protections under the law as opposite-sex couples do.

Oregonians banned same-sex unions with a constitutional amendment in 2004, a time when the politics of hate and division ruled the day.

Amazingly, those days seem so long ago now.

Even the Republican National Committee has gotten the memo. After the Romney/Ryan defeat, Republican insiders can see the "conservative case" for gay marriage.

Actually, after President Obama "came out" in support of gay marriage, some big-time money flowed to his campaign. Republicans now want their share of that serious cash.

Plus, as a handful of states have legalized gay marriage, Americans can see that all those predictions that we were riding that slippery slope to hell were completely bogus.

Republican bigwigs are signaling that they are done funding efforts to prevent same-sex marriage and aren't likely to send money to Oregon to defeat the Basic Rights initiative here.

Our local legislators, both Republicans, will be opposed to the "marriage equality" initiative, but they won't be campaigning against it.

Politicians only do what their donors tell them to do. And, believe it or not, there are still gays and lesbians who are registered Republicans. They aren't going to give money to GOP candidates who foment hate against them.

Our governor, John Kitzhaber, and the mayor of Bend, Jim Clinton, signed the petition Thursday.

Clinton pointed out to the assembled that the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides the legal framework for same-sex marriage.

The "equal protection clause" states: "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."

I hope the initiative passes in Oregon, because same-sex marriage is going to happen; better sooner rather than later. Plus, it will make this state more competitive for businesses that could easily settle across the Columbia River in a more tolerant state.

Marriage equality is a basic right. It's also the right side of history.

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