by Karen Kulm, First Congregational UCC, Vancouver, WA
In December 2013, a federal judge struck down Utah’s constitutional ban on marriage for same-sex couples. 1,300 same-sex couples quickly married before the window of opportunity was closed by the Utah State Attorney General’s appeal to stay the order. A federal judge in Oklahoma made a similar ruling, but the ruling was stayed before any same-sex couples were allowed to marry.
What about Oregon? Oregon also has a constitutional amendment that excludes same-sex couples from marriage, as well as a lawsuit pending in federal court. The case is working its way through the legal system and may receive a favorable ruling from a federal judge similar to Utah and Oklahoma. Unlike those states, Oregon has a double challenge. Even if a court finds Oregon’s Measure 36 unconstitutional before November 4, the discriminatory language that excludes same-sex couples from marriage will still be in Oregon’s constitution—until Oregonians vote to remove it.
Oregon United for Marriage, the statewide coalition working for the freedom to marry for all loving couples, has been working hard to give Oregonians the chance to vote on November 4. They have built an incredible volunteer base across the state. Many of you have helped gather petition signatures in your church and your community. Many Central Pacific Conference (CPC) pastors and congregations have signed on to the faith coalition, and I encourage those who have not yet signed to do so: http://www.oregonunitedformarriage.org/category/faith/
Your church can host a town hall, have a fund-raising potluck or host a Faithful Conversations class and learn how to talk about why the freedom to marry is important. Research has shown that having a conversation with someone about why marriage matters will double the chance they will support it. Do it now. Do it for love – and marriage.