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Oregon United drops ballot measure (updated)

Timothy Kincaid

May 23rd, 2014

In July 2013, Oregon United for Marriage began the process of collecting signatures to place a proposition on the ballot to reverse the state’s 2004 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. With significant high-profile political support and large contributions from some of Oregon’s corporate giants like Nike, they reached their goal of 116,000 signatures with an extra 50,000 to allow for errors or duplicates.

Earlier this year, in a brief submitted to the court, Oregon United stated that if Judge McShane ruled the ban unconstitutional by May 23rd, they would drop their ballot effort. The judge ruled earlier this week and the state will not appeal his ruling. So today Oregon United announced that they are discontinuing the process.

Today is May 23—and following Judge Michael McShane’s ruling that extended the freedom to marry to all loving, committed couples in Oregon, a ballot campaign to address the same issue is no longer needed. “We are confident that the freedom to marry is secure in Oregon and that we do not need to move forward with the ballot measure,” said Oregon United for Marriage deputy campaign manager Amy Ruiz. “It is time to celebrate this victory for Oregon.


Oregon United had accumulated hundreds of thousands of dollars in anticipation of needing a media campaign for the proposition. Now they are giving it back. (Statesman Journal)

That money came in large part from donations from other organizations like Basic Rights Oregon, the ACLU of Oregon, SEIU Local 503, Human Rights Campaign, Freedom to Marry, Gill Action Fund and the American Unity Fund.

And those groups will be getting some of that money back.

The marriage campaign’s executive committee has decided to return its remaining resources to its major donors in proportion to what they gave to the campaign.

Classy move.



Mark F.
May 25th, 2014 | LINK

Is this really a good idea? It’s at least possible that SCOTUS will uphold same sex marriage bans at some point. I figure there are 4 votes for that, and who knows about Justice Kennedy?

Timothy Kincaid
May 25th, 2014 | LINK


I don’t believe that Oregon is being appealed. So I’m not sure that there is a vehicle by which it can be overturned irrespective of SCOTUS

Mark F.
May 26th, 2014 | LINK

Tim, if SCOTUS upholds all same sex marriage bans as a general principle, wouldn’t that overturn all lower court rulings to the contrary? Isn’t that how it would work?

Timothy Kincaid
May 26th, 2014 | LINK


I’m not an attorney, and especially not a constitutional attorney, but no I don’t believe it works that way.

I believe that the courts could apply a ruling to all states. And if something were found to be unconstitutional, then of course it would. But I don’t think that a law that is found to be valid would apply to other states, if those states accepted the lower court’s ruling and did not appeal.

Perhaps someone better versed in the law can clarify.

Eric Payne
May 27th, 2014 | LINK


You are correct in your response to Mark F.

If SCOTUS had ruled in either Windsor or in the Prop 8 case there was a basic constitutional righ for same-gender marriage, the fight would be over.

If some state’s ban on marriage equality were to be upheld by SCOTUS, that would not bring all the bans that have fallen back to life. What it would do, though, is to give the signal to state legislatures go ahead and write/pass NEW legislation limiting marriage to heterosexuals! as long as that legislation closely followed the wording of the Act/state constitutional amendment which was upheld.

May 27th, 2014 | LINK

I know it’s probably a little like putting the cart before the horse right now…but even my illustrious Senator Orrin Hatch thinks it will probably take a U.S. Constitutional Amendment to make same-sex marriages illegal now.

And how much more kind and understanding those citizens of Oregon are.

But in neighboring Idaho and further down in Utah it’s considered ‘anarchy’ if someone even suggests a law is unconstitutional.

I wonder what the difference between Oregon and Idaho/Utah could be? (/sarcasm) It’s a good example of where the influence of a particular sect can have on governments.

Ben In Oakland
May 27th, 2014 | LINK

Cowboy, it’s a very simple mathematical difference.

Oregon minus (Utah plus Idaho) = conservative Mormons.

Much as I learned when my husbands relatives from Germany were visiting us a few years ago. He served them simply enormous steaks, any one of which I would have fed to four people.

Three Germans plus one cow = ZERO,.

May 28th, 2014 | LINK

The news just now:

“Let’s face it, anybody who does not believe that gay marriage is going to be the law of the land just hasn’t been observing what’s going on,” Hatch said

— Salt Lake Tribune May 28, 2014

May 29th, 2014 | LINK

I think Mark F. is correct here and that his fears are well-founded.

The Supreme Court didn’t rule on the merits in the Prop 8 case. It simply dismissed the case for lack of a defendant.

If in a future case the Supreme Court rules that bans on SSM are constitutional, any decisions handed down by federal courts striking down state bans would be voided and those bans would came back into effect. This means that CA, OR and PA would see their bans reinstated.

The reason this would happen is because the federal district court decisions that struck down the bans would be overruled.

Is this likely to happen? Who knows. But I would say that Anthony Kennedy isn’t a sure thing to legalize SSM nationwide.

May 29th, 2014 | LINK


Justice Kennedy appears to be, at least superficially, taking NOM’s position on appeal seriously, as he has asked for briefs from the Oregon parties on whether McShane’s decision should be stayed pending higher review.

I would also point out that Kennedy was NOT in the majority on the Prop 8 disposition. He apparently wanted to rule on the merits rather than dismiss for lack of standing.

Food for thought certainly.

May 29th, 2014 | LINK

SCOTUS is going to rule against us one way or another. All of our celebratory District and maybe even Appellate Court victories are going to be struck down by these religionist Fascists when they get to pick the perfect case to do so.

OK, I’m Danish. I tend to be on the hopeless side of things. Great for the states who have accomplished SSM w/o federal intervention (eg, NM and IA) but I fear the rest of us are goin’ down, down, down. By 2015.

Priya Lynn
May 29th, 2014 | LINK

Jake, I’d be more inclined to agree with you if the lower court rulings had been mixed with some for and some against, but with a dozen courts all ruling the same way it seesm doubtful the U.S. supreme court is going to step in and say “You’re all wrong.”.

L. C. Burgundy
May 30th, 2014 | LINK

Erm, IANAL, but I don’t think the Oregon or Pennsylvania decisions would be affected one way or the other by an adverse USSC decision. The standing issue applies regardless of the merits, and the USSC cannot start issuing orders on cases that are not appealed to them. Unappealed district court orders may not be precedent at all at the appellate level, but they are valid regardless.

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