November 4th, 2009 5:33 pm | by HANK STERN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP

What Washington And Maine Election Results Mean For Same-Sex Marriage in Oregon


Last night's election results in Maine and Washington left Basic Rights Oregon executive director Jeana Frazzini stressing this morning that she's a "half-glass-full" kind of person.

"If I weren't, I couldn't do social justice work," Frazzini said.

The quickie "half-glass-full" summary of yesterday's election when it comes to gay rights is that Maine voters overturned gay marriage in their state, and that Washington voters appear headed toward preserving domestic partnership rights for gay and lesbian couples in their state.

The Maine result is obviously disappointing to Frazzini. But she emphasized the positive results from another Northwest state and said the Maine returns highlight the value of BRO's approach of using the time between now and 2012 to show Oregonians the merits of overturning Measure 36. BRO this week kicked off a drive toward reversing Oregon's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriages by bringing marriage rights advocate Evan Wolfson to the state for a three-day swing.

Wolfson echoed Frazzini's take and rejected any analysis that said voters are showing they're OK with domestic partnership but draw the line at full marriage rights. Instead, he said of Maine, "You have a small slice of people whose discomfort and uncertainty and fear can still be stoked by a campaign aimed at scaring them."

"The narrow loss in Maine underscores the real need to use the time to have the conversation about why marriage matters," said Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry (Wolfson's last appearance in Oregon is at 6 pm tonight at the Eugene Public Library.)

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