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Oregon could be next state for gay marriage ballot battle

After historic wins in Maryland, Maine and Washington, gay rights advocates are preparing to fight for marriage equality again
The next in line to be Speaker, Tina Kotek has said Oregon could be the next state to discuss marriage equality at the ballot box.

Oregon could be the next state voting to approve or deny marriage to same-sex couples.

After Maryland, Maine and Washington made history by voting to approve same-sex marriage on 6 November, Oregon could be the next in 2014.

The Oregonian reports gay rights activists are now hoping the timing is right for the state.

‘This has unfolded exactly as it should,’ Jeana Frazzini, executive director of Basic Rights Oregon said.

‘I am more confident than ever that we will be the first state to overturn a constitutional ban on marriage for same-sex couples,’ she said.

Although no firm decision has been made, Frazzini said it was ‘likely’ her organization would spearhead a same-sex marriage ballot campaign in two years.

In 2004, voters approved a constitutional amendment which said marriage could only exist between a man and a woman.

Three years later, the state allowed same-sex couples to register to get many, but not all, of the same rights of benefits as married couples.

House Democratic Leader Tina Kotek, who is openly gay, said: ‘It’s not full equality. Full equality is the ability to marry.’

She said it should not be passed by state legislation, adding: ‘At the end of the day, this is a community decision.’

Oregon Family Council (OFC), which led the charge against marriage equality in 2004, said they would remain ‘vigilant’.

OFC spokesperson Teresa Harke said: [Basic Rights Oregon] have made it clear in their press release and other public statements that a battle to change marriage is coming.

‘Therefore we will remain vigilant in our efforts to educate Oregonians about the importance of protecting marriage and the impact that redefining marriage can have on society.’

However Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, a Democrat in New Jersey, warned against leaving a same-sex marriage decision up to the public. She warned it could be a battle of who could raise the most millions.

‘I still don’t believe we should put civil rights onto a referendum,’ she told the New Jersey Journal.

The votes in Maryland, Maine, and Washington ended a streak of 32 failed attempts to approve same-sex marriage at the ballot box.

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