Late last year, House Bill 2007 passed through Oregon’s legislative process, granting domestic partnerships to same-sex couples. As always, this drew the attention of the usual spread of anti-gay groups, who spared no time in hitting the streets to gather enough petitions to halt the bill.
The return of bigotry
Late last year, House Bill 2007 passed through Oregon’s legislative process, granting domestic partnerships to same-sex couples. As always, this drew the attention of the usual spread of anti-gay groups, who spared no time in hitting the streets to gather enough petitions to halt the bill. Unfortunately for them, they fell short of the required amount of signatures to do so. And so for a time, it seemed that Oregon was finally and progressively striding into the future.
Now the issue has once again graced our newspapers, as well as voters. It seems that a concern has been raised in regard to how people in Oregon conduct petition gathering and counting.
U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman has suspended the law. He has set a date of Feb. 1 for each side to make their case, which will state that the methods we use and have always used to gather and legitimize petition signatures is lawful. If it ends up that Oregonians have been in error all this time, then the law will surely be suspended into the ether.
I initially wrote about this issue in October 2007 in an article titled “The non-gay agenda.” The argument here is essentially the same. In the United States, one group cannot deny rights to another. In this situation, the citizens who may disagree with same-sex marriages have every right to believe their views and hold their opinions. Yet still, they cannot prevent others from disagreeing or living their lives as they please.
The great objector this time is the Alliance Defense Fund, a group that gives legal support to Christians. On their website they state “God created marriage as the unity of one man and one woman. This has been both the legal and traditional understanding of a marriage-literally–for millennia, since Eden.”
The first problem with this statement is that the understanding of marriage has never once been legally or traditionally concise throughout history. Some cultures and religions have loved it, some have hated it, and others haven’t cared. The second problem here is the reference to God. Speaking in a realm of Christianity, not every denomination or branch of Christianity follows the idea that homosexuality is evil. Either way neither is a legal case.
The Alliance Defense Fund argues that election officials have not properly discounted signatures on the petitions gathered to stop House Bill 2007. If this is true, if the methods Oregon’s election officials use are unlawful and truly do imply that this law was mishandled, then why is it only this law alone that is singled out to house the controversy? What of the other petitions gathered last season? It is hard to cross downtown Portland without being bombarded by someone gathering signatures. Petitions are plenty in Oregon. Why not any other bill or law?
One may conclude that it is the nature of the bill that is halting its progression, not technicalities. It has been controversial to some degree all along its journey through the House. We are now seeing nothing more than the continuation of what happened before: one group of people, not in fact threatened by this law, attempting to deny rights to another they disagree with. They are using the petition argument as a means of furthering their losing cause.
What the Alliance Defense Fund, along with others who share their philosophy, must realize is that laws such as these don’t threaten their way of life, and they shouldn’t be voted down. These people can continue to raise children as they please and believe what they do freely.
On the other hand, our culture used to believe that a person’s gender, race or even religion defined their rights and capabilities–now we know that is wrong. Now we are coming to realize that sexual orientation is also not capable of such a definition. It is merely a matter of time until our laws, too, reflect this.