Gay marriage comes to Oregon : How public officials can defy the will of the voters

Viper GTS

Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
38,089
405
136
Bah, gotta love this liberal state. San Francisco, New York, and ... Portland?

Apparently we're a well known "bastion of liberalism."



http://www.kgw.com/news-local/stories/kgw_030204_news_gay_marriage.4953bd76.html

Multnomah County to issue gay marriage licenses

12:56 AM PST on Wednesday, March 3, 2004
By ABE ESTIMADA and JIM PARKER, kgw.com Staff

Multnomah County is poised to become the fourth community in the country to marry same-sex couples after announcing that it will issue marriage licenses to gays and lesbians starting Wednesday morning.

The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners waded into the brewing national maelstrom concerning same-sex marriage by issuing a short statement on Tuesday night saying their legal counsel supports the controversial move.

?Based on a legal opinion released (Tuesday) by the county attorney, a majority of the (Multnomah) Board of County Commissioners supports a policy change to allow the county to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples,? the statement said.

Like San Francisco -- which became the first U.S. community to conduct gay weddings in recent weeks -- Portland has long been viewed as a bastion of liberalism. It's an image that stands to be reinforced if same-sex couples here are issued marriage licenses.

Multnomah County Chair Diane Linn, reportedly directed the county to begin issuing the licenses, after consulting with the county attorney ? but without an official vote from the four other county commissioners.

"She did it without a vote, but she doesn't need it. She has majority support," said Commissioner Serena Cruz. "Our county attorney basically said that it would be illegal not to give out the licenses."

Oregon state law defines marriage as a "civil contract entered into in person by males at least 17 years of age and females at least 17 years of age." The county's contention is expected to be that state law does not specify that the union be between a man and a woman.

The county planned a news conference at 9 a.m. Wednesday at Multnomah County headquarters at 501 SE Hawthorne Blvd. in Portland to provide the first public details of the decision. Licenses will also be issued from the same building.

Judge, civil rights groups to conduct weddings

Multnomah County Judge Linda Bergman told KGW on Tuesday night that she would schedule and perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples if they have a license when they make an appointment.

In addition, local civil right groups were also making plans to host mass wedding ceremonies Wednesday.

"Once couples receive their marriage licenses, Basic Rights Oregon and the American Civil Liberties Union will host multiple wedding ceremonies throughout the day (for same-sex couples)," said Rebekah Kassell, a spokesperson for Basic Rights Oregon.

The gay rights advocay groups scheduled a 10 a.m. cerermony, at a location still to be announced, for what they believed would be the first gay and lesbian marriages to occur in Portland. The groups set 2 p.m. for a second round of same-sex weddings to be performed.

At Portland oldest lesbian bar on Tuesday night, long-standing couples were planning their bridal wear.

"It's history in the making," said Heather Spotts, 32, the bartender of the Egyptian Club. "Me and my partner are going to go down tomorrow. Even if the certificate doesn't hold up, we'll give to our little boy to put up on the wall."

Jennifer Schneider, 27, was married unofficially in front of 80 friends and relatives last year in Portland. She and her partner are hoping to have their wedding dresses dry cleaned in time for tying the knot officially Wednesday.

"I'm so glad that they're finally recognizing the commitment I made a year ago," Schneider said.

Jennifer Steyer, 27, just recently began dating her lesbian partner, so marriage is nowhere in the immediate future. But she likes having the option.

"Growing up, I always envisioned getting married," she said. "I didn't see why being gay, I should be denied that. It's an amazing idea," she said.

Law enforcement was gearing up for the expected crush of people who will be applying for the licenses, said a Portland police official who did not want to be identified. Multnomah County Sheriff Bernie Giusto said his office would also provide security at the county administration building on Wednesday morning. He would not elaborate.

"We'll err on the side of caution enough to make sure our presence is known," Guisto said.

By 11 p.m. Tuesday night, same-sex couples had already lined up outside the county building to be among the first to get marriage licenses on Wednesday morning.

The Oregon governor?s office was declining comment until it could independently confirm -- outside of media reports -- that the county is issuing such licenses, said spokesperson Mary Ellen Glynn on Tuesday evening.

A short time later, Kevin Neely, spokesman for state Attorney General Hardy Myers, said: "We're having discussions with the governor and expect to be prepared to comment tomorrow."

Surprise decision 'clandestine,' says one commisioner

Multnomah County's surprise announcement comes about a week after President Bush said that he would back a national constitutional amendment banning gay unions. The county's plans already face opposition within its own commission.

"No, I will not support it, this is a state issue and we'd be crossing over the line," said county commissioner Lonnie Roberts, apparently in the minority view among the commission members.

Roberts maintained he was left out of the loop on the decision by Linn and the other commisioners.

"This is was clandestine," Roberts said, noting that he received word of the decision from the sheriff -- as opposed to his fellow commisioners.

"The way I see it, we should've done this with a full board and taken public input so it doesn't seem like a backdoor proposition," he maintained.

Basic Rights Oregon and the ACLU had been working with the county commissioners? office on the question of gay marriage licenses, said Roey Thrope, executive director of Basic Rights Oregon.

?We know this is a deeply important moment to gay and lesbian couples in Oregon and are excited about the day when we are no longer denied the right to marry,? Thorpe said. "Many of these couples have been waiting decades, and this is the first time they've been seen as equal under the law."

Commissioner Cruz acknowledged that some in county government began thinking about taking the step after they were approached by Basic Rights Oregon.

The gay rights groups said that marriage would offer gays and lesbians more than 1,000 federal and 500 state legal protections and rights, such as hospital visitation and inheritance rights.

Opponents may seek court injunction

The Christian Coalition of Oregon planned to consult its lawyers and may file suit seeking an injunction to stop Multnomah County from performing same-sex marriages, executive director John Belgarde told kgw.com.

The county?s decision cheapens the institution of marriage defined by God as a union between a man and woman, Belgarde said. Belgarde made it clear he doesn't dislike gays but said the definition of marriage is unquestionable.

?It saddens me because what?s the next step?? he said. ?The old cliché -- it?s a million years old -- let the camel's nose into the tent, and you wake up, and you have a camel laying beside you. There?s truth to that."

Opposition from Oregon's Republican leadership was also swift.

"I'm very upset that this travesty is taking place in Oregon. It definitely is an insult to the voters and to the people," said Kevin Mannix, chairman of the Oregon Republican Party, who called for the state attorney general to put a halt to the marriages immediately.

Mannix also said the move by the county will only add to the momentum of President Bush's recent call for a national constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriages.

"More idiotic moves such as the one about to be taken by Multnomah County will simply add fuel to the fire," Mannix commented.

Multnomah County is ahead of the country in that it already recognizes same-sex "domestic partnerships."

Now, Multnomah County will follow the lead of San Francisco, Calif.; New Paltz, New York and Sandoval County, New Mexico. More than 3,400 couples have been married in San Francisco and New Paltz has about 1,000 couples on a waiting list. Sandoval County in New Mexico issued licenses and conducted some nuptials recently before the state attorney general there invalidated the licenses.

The Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled last month that gay marriage must be allowed under the state constitution. States typically recognize marriages performed in other states, but 38 states since 1996 have approved laws and constitutional amendments that seek to prevent recognition of same-sex marriages from other states.

Last week, the California Supreme Court declined a request to immediately stop San Francisco from marrying gay couples and to nullify the weddings already performed. Earlier Tuesday, the mayor of New Paltz, N.Y., was charged with 19 misdemeanor counts for performing weddings for gay couples. Jason West performed wedding ceremonies for 25 gay couples Friday.

Gay rights battles on-going in Oregon

Oregon was already headed towards a heated debate on the definition of marriage.

Gay marriage opponents last month filed four versions of a proposed initiative that would clearly define marriage as between and a woman, Belgarde said. He's confident that the Christian Coalition of Oregon and its allies will gather enough signatures to place one of those initiatives on the ballot in November. Belgarde believes Oregonians will throw their support behind his initiative.

The controversy stirring around same-sex unions in Oregon also hearkens back to the state's past debates on gay rights.

In 2000, voters defeated Measure 9, which would have banned homosexuality from being presented in schools in a positive light. It was the third anti-gay rights measure voted down in the state in eight years; Ballot measures defeated in 1992 and 1996 basically said homosexuality was wrong and the government can't promote it.

Lon Mabon, head of the alliance that placed the three failed measures on the ballot, said: "If people in this state and that county and that city don't wake up and stop this agenda nothing will be sacred except their activities. They want to force acceptance of their lifestyle."

In addition, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled in 1998 that it was unconstitutional for the Oregon Health & Sciences University to deny spousal benefits to gay couples.

In 1992, it ruled unconstitutional a measure approved by voters in 1988 that would have made it legally permissible for state agencies to discriminate against gays and lesbians. In 1999, a bill that would have banned same-sex marriage passed the Oregon House, but was weakened and defeated in the Senate.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


Viper GTS
 

Red Dawn

Elite Member
Jun 4, 2001
57,530
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Oh no, the Sodomites are taking over, hide the children and cover your ass. We are all doomed;)
 

StageLeft

No Lifer
Sep 29, 2000
70,150
3
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Originally posted by: Red Dawn
Oh no, the Sodomites are taking over, hide the children and cover your ass. We are all doomed;)
Their leader hath spoken :evil: :p

I'm glad they're issuing licenses personally ;)

 

Viper GTS

Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
38,089
405
136
If they want it they should go about getting the laws changed.

I'm not going to touch the issue of morality, but legality is pretty clear.

I'd rather not be grouped with SF & NY.

:Q

Viper GTS
 

Danman

Lifer
Nov 9, 1999
13,134
0
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"I'm very upset that this travesty is taking place in Oregon. It definitely is an insult to the voters and to the people," said Kevin Mannix, chairman of the Oregon Republican Party, who called for the state attorney general to put a halt to the marriages immediately.


I'm beginning to hate my party because of these comments...

Travesty?


 

DOSfan

Senior member
Sep 19, 2003
522
0
0
Originally posted by: Viper GTS
If they want it they should go about getting the laws changed.

I'm not going to touch the issue of morality, but legality is pretty clear.

I'd rather not be grouped with SF & NY.

:Q

Viper GTS
From the little I know about it, homosexuals have been fighting to get the laws changed. For over a decade if my information and memory are correct.

How long must they fight before you think it would be okay? Especially since you will not discuse the morality of the issue....
 

Originally posted by: Viper GTS
If they want it they should go about getting the laws changed.

I'm not going to touch the issue of morality, but legality is pretty clear.

I'd rather not be grouped with SF & NY.

:Q

Viper GTS
Seeing as how you must link morality to legality to turn over laws that are not moral and do not work in the favor of it's citizens.


 

Viper GTS

Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
38,089
405
136
Originally posted by: DOSfan
Originally posted by: Viper GTS
If they want it they should go about getting the laws changed.

I'm not going to touch the issue of morality, but legality is pretty clear.

I'd rather not be grouped with SF & NY.

:Q

Viper GTS
From the little I know about it, homosexuals have been fighting to get the laws changed. For over a decade if my information and memory are correct.

How long must they fight before you think it would be okay? Especially since you will not discuse the morality of the issue....
Laws are not about personal opinion.

Take the Assault Weapon Ban (AWB) for instance. The same argument could have been made for that: How long must gun advocates fight before high capacity magazines are legal? As it turns out, our wait may now be over - But if it turns out it's not, we'll continue to fight.

I don't agree with it, but I don't break the law either.

Viper GTS
 

StageLeft

No Lifer
Sep 29, 2000
70,150
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Well on the one hand you've got the proponents of taking the legal route, and on the other those who just take what they perceive to be the correct one morally. Breaking laws can be bad, or it can be good. Just look how your country started :) I suppose we'll see how history judges them. My take is that there is nothing wrong with breaking a law if it's a dumb law. Deciding what is dumb and what isn't is difficult, at best, and we still need to prosecute breakers of the law even if we don't agree with it.

I know I have something else to say which would remove some of the hypocrisy and confusion of that above paragraph but my mind has just skipped the thought altogether. Oops!
 

Viper GTS

Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
38,089
405
136
Originally posted by: Skoorb
Well on the one hand you've got the proponents of taking the legal route, and on the other those who just take what they perceive to be the correct one morally. Breaking laws can be bad, or it can be good. Just look how your country started :) I suppose we'll see how history judges them. My take is that there is nothing wrong with breaking a law if it's a dumb law. Deciding what is dumb and what isn't is difficult, at best, and we still need to prosecute breakers of the law even if we don't agree with it.

I know I have something else to say which would remove some of the hypocrisy and confusion of that above paragraph but my mind has just skipped the thought altogether. Oops!
Since everybody's opinion of a "dumb law" is going to be different, the only logical thing would be to take the laws for what they are.

Unfortunately for me that means I must follow the speed limit, I cannot legally purchase magazines in excess of 10 rounds that were manufactured in Sep 94 or later, and I cannot kill those who disagree with me (kidding, only kidding...).

Viper GTS
 

Originally posted by: Viper GTS
Originally posted by: DOSfan
Originally posted by: Viper GTS
If they want it they should go about getting the laws changed.

I'm not going to touch the issue of morality, but legality is pretty clear.

I'd rather not be grouped with SF & NY.

:Q

Viper GTS
From the little I know about it, homosexuals have been fighting to get the laws changed. For over a decade if my information and memory are correct.

How long must they fight before you think it would be okay? Especially since you will not discuse the morality of the issue....
Laws are not about personal opinion.

Take the Assault Weapon Ban (AWB) for instance. The same argument could have been made for that: How long must gun advocates fight before high capacity magazines are legal? As it turns out, our wait may now be over - But if it turns out it's not, we'll continue to fight.

I don't agree with it, but I don't break the law either.

Viper GTS
So what are laws about then? Does the magical entity of the govt NOT include the politicians personal opinions?
So the govt. is just this machine that pumps out the rules on the ways humans should live?
Why doesn't this machine work the same way in other countries? Do they have a different model machine?

I don't want to bash you, but your understanding of the reality of how far govt. has gone to rule your life is limited.
To each their own I guess.. . oh wait, you don't believe in that.

 

StageLeft

No Lifer
Sep 29, 2000
70,150
3
0
Originally posted by: Viper GTS
Originally posted by: Skoorb
Well on the one hand you've got the proponents of taking the legal route, and on the other those who just take what they perceive to be the correct one morally. Breaking laws can be bad, or it can be good. Just look how your country started :) I suppose we'll see how history judges them. My take is that there is nothing wrong with breaking a law if it's a dumb law. Deciding what is dumb and what isn't is difficult, at best, and we still need to prosecute breakers of the law even if we don't agree with it.

I know I have something else to say which would remove some of the hypocrisy and confusion of that above paragraph but my mind has just skipped the thought altogether. Oops!
Since everybody's opinion of a "dumb law" is going to be different, the only logical thing would be to take the laws for what they are.

Unfortunately for me that means I must follow the speed limit, I cannot legally purchase magazines in excess of 10 rounds that were manufactured in Sep 94 or later, and I cannot kill those who disagree with me (kidding, only kidding...).

Viper GTS
But I bet you do speed on ocassion don't you? Even a little bit, because you know that 75 on a 70 3 lane highway at 3 in the morning is really quite safe? :)

 

skace

Lifer
Jan 23, 2001
14,488
7
81
He doesn't like being grouped with SF and NY. Because he feels it questions his sexual preferance and makes him less of a man!
 

Viper GTS

Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
38,089
405
136
Originally posted by: SampSon
So what are laws about then? Does the magical entity of the govt NOT include the politicians personal opinions?
So the govt. is just this machine that pumps out the rules on the ways humans should live?
Why doesn't this machine work the same way in other countries? Do they have a different model machine?

I don't want to bash you, but your understanding of the reality of how far govt. has gone to rule your life is limited.
To each their own I guess.. . oh wait, you don't believe in that.
Laws are a group decision, & we have the power to change them.

Society without the ability to hold individuals to an accepted standard is anarchy, if you don't like the laws you have options to change them.

Mill

There is a big difference between an individual defying a law & a public office/elected official defying state laws to further their own agenda. Many states have (or had) laws against homosexual sex, yet scores of people ignore(d) them. Many states also have (or had) laws against oral sex, you can bet I'd be ignoring those if Oregon had them. :) On a personal level I have nothing against people defying the law, but public officials have no business defying the law in their official capacity.

Call volume is starting to pick up here, in a little while I'll likely be too busy to continue this. So no bashing based on my lack of responses.

:p

Viper GTS
 

Mill

Lifer
Oct 10, 1999
28,558
3
81
I'd have to say I don't think there is a difference. If anything it shows that our politicians are useless jackasses. They are more concerned with getting re-elected and counting votes then actually making something good happen. Plus, there were not many black politicians back then or blacks that had power. Not like they were in a position to do anything other than what they did. This time gays have some political power.
 

Laws are a group decision, & we have the power to change them.

Society without the ability to hold individuals to an accepted standard is anarchy, if you don't like the laws you have options to change them.
No we don't have the power. If we did, they would have been changed already.

The majority does not rule. The govt. is now ruling your life.
 

Viper GTS

Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
38,089
405
136
Originally posted by: SampSon
Laws are a group decision, & we have the power to change them.

Society without the ability to hold individuals to an accepted standard is anarchy, if you don't like the laws you have options to change them.
No we don't have the power. If we did, they would have been changed already.

The majority does not rule. The govt. is now ruling your life.
http://www.ballot.org/states/Oregon.pdf

(LMK if that PDF doesn't work, Acrobat Reader is flaky as hell here on my work machine & I haven't been able to open it - It's probably my problem, but if the PDF is bad I'll find something else for you)

Viper GTS
 

Mursilis

Diamond Member
Mar 11, 2001
7,756
11
81
Originally posted by: SampSon
Laws are a group decision, & we have the power to change them.

Society without the ability to hold individuals to an accepted standard is anarchy, if you don't like the laws you have options to change them.
No we don't have the power. If we did, they would have been changed already.

The majority does not rule. The govt. is now ruling your life.
Sorry to inform you, but the majority does rule. It just does so very poorly. We've got exactly the gov't an ill-informed, short-sighted, mentally lazy electorate wants.
 

Mill

Lifer
Oct 10, 1999
28,558
3
81
Originally posted by: Viper GTS
Originally posted by: SampSon
Laws are a group decision, & we have the power to change them.

Society without the ability to hold individuals to an accepted standard is anarchy, if you don't like the laws you have options to change them.
No we don't have the power. If we did, they would have been changed already.

The majority does not rule. The govt. is now ruling your life.
http://www.ballot.org/states/Oregon.pdf

Viper GTS
Maybe you have that in Oregon, but here in Alabama gay marriage was banned by our legislature. No consent by the people. I'm sure they would have banned it anyway though.
 

flxnimprtmscl

Diamond Member
Jan 30, 2003
7,962
2
0
Originally posted by: cashman
"I'm very upset that this travesty is taking place in Oregon. It definitely is an insult to the voters and to the people," said Kevin Mannix, chairman of the Oregon Republican Party, who called for the state attorney general to put a halt to the marriages immediately.


I'm beginning to hate my party because of these comments...

Travesty?
I'd say that when any particular part of government completely disregards what the voters say and goes against the laws in place, that is a travesty. As a voter, I'd at least like to have the illusion that I, along with the other voters, have some say in the way my county, state, country, etc. is run.

That being said, it's kind of a sticky issue. I completely believe gays should have the right to get married if they wish. On the other hand I believe that we vote for a reason and the outcomes of those votes should be honored. Eh, pick the lesser of two evils. Either the voters get told to go fvck themselves and what they want doesn't matter or the gays do. No pun intended of course...
 

Mursilis

Diamond Member
Mar 11, 2001
7,756
11
81
Originally posted by: Mill
Originally posted by: Viper GTS
Originally posted by: SampSon
Laws are a group decision, & we have the power to change them.

Society without the ability to hold individuals to an accepted standard is anarchy, if you don't like the laws you have options to change them.
No we don't have the power. If we did, they would have been changed already.

The majority does not rule. The govt. is now ruling your life.
http://www.ballot.org/states/Oregon.pdf

Viper GTS
Maybe you have that in Oregon, but here in Alabama gay marriage was banned by our legislature. No consent by the people. I'm sure they would have banned it anyway though.
NO consent by the people?!?! Well then, how did the legislature become the legislature, exactly? Were a bunch of good ol' boys sittin' around drinkin' late one night out by the scrap yard, and one of 'em says, "I'm bored, Hoss. Let's form a bicameral governing body, and declare ourselves the legislature!!!"
 

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