A group of high-profile Oregon Republicans has formed a Freedom Oregon, a political action committee that will support same-sex marriage.
The group includes former U.S. Sen Bob Packwood; former Oregon Attorney General Dave Frohnmayer; former Oregon Secretary of State Norma Paulus and Stimson Lumber CEO Andrew Miller, who individually and through his company has been the biggest political contributor to Oregon Republican candidates and causes in recent years.
The veteran GOP political consultant Elaine Franklin, who is married to Packwood, announced the group's formation this morning in a news release.
Here's part of that message:
Freedom Oregon has scheduled a kick-off event on February 20th at Cerulean Wine Bar in Portland and NBA player Jason Collins, fresh off his attendance as the First Lady’s guest at the State of the Union, will headline the event. Franklin also announced the formation of Freedom Oregon PAC, which will help fund the group’s activities, and the creation of a Freedom Oregon Facebook page with nearly 1000 followers to date. Andrew Miller, CEO of Stimson Lumber and supporter of many Republican candidates and causes, is a member of Freedom Oregon. “By uniting for marriage equality, Freedom Oregon is showcasing Oregon Republicanism at its very best," said Miller. “Government cannot dictate who we love and it should not dictate who we marry.”
Franklin says Freedom Oregon will coordinate its activity with Freedom to Marry, the largely Democratic group that is gathering signatures for a measure for the November ballot.
That show of bi-partisanship is a big win for the campaign and an significant change from 2004, when Oregonians overwhelmingly passed Measure 36, which enshrined a ban on same sex marriage in the state's consitution.