All over Corvallis, from football games to farmers’ markets, you can find volunteers gathering signatures in support of a November 2014 ballot initiative aimed at amending Oregon’s constitution to allow recognition of same-sex marriages. The volunteers are with Oregon United for Marriage, a coalition of individuals and organizations, including several Corvallis business and religious leaders, who believe that all Oregonians should have the right to marry regardless of sexual orientation.
The organization is putting forth a large scale effort in Benton County, one of two counties that voted against the 2004 initiative which defined marriage in Oregon as between one man and one woman. Corvallis is seen as a community which stands up for fairness and freedom and support for the LGBT rights. “People have been on a journey since 2004,” said Amy Ruiz of Oregon United for Marriage. She went on to comment that through conversations with friends, family, and community members over the last several years, support for marriage equality has grown in Corvallis and around the state.
Recent polls support Ruiz’s assertion. Public Policy Polling reports that 54% of Oregonians are ready to support marriage equality. Accordingly, in less than three months volunteers have already collected over 94,000 signatures in support of the initiative (5,000 of which are from Corvallis residents). That’s more than 80% of the required 116,284 signatures that will secure a spot on the ballot, but the volunteers are still dedicated and hard at work, raising awareness for the importance of marriage equality and building what organizers hope will be the largest grassroots campaign in Oregon history.
If the initiative is passed in November, Oregon will be the first state to amend its constitution in favor of LGBT marriage equality.