Yesterday's announcement by Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum that she will not defend the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage will at least temporarily change the focus of Oregon United for Marriage, the campaign working toward a November same-sex marriage ballot measure.
As WW reported yesterday, the campaign will hold onto the 160,000 signatures it has gathered pending a ruling on a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the 2004 ban.
But Peter Zuckerman, a spokesman for the marriage campaign, says a dozen staffers and an army of volunteers will in the meantime turn their attention to two tasks: continuing to educate voters about the benefits of marriage for all; and, working to defeat a newly filed ballot measure that would immunize businesses that discriminate against same sex couples.
"No one should be turned away from a business because of who they are or whom they love," Zuckerman says. "Everyone has a right to their religious beliefs but they don't have a right to discriminate."
The new measure, filed with the elections division on Feb. 5, has not gotten much attention yet. It would have narrow application—it allows private businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples seeking to hold a civil union, domestic partnership or marriage ceremony.
The ballot measure follows a highly-publicized case in which a Gresham bakery refused to bake a celebratory cake for a same-sex couple.
Here's the text of the Feb. 5 measure, which was filed by Teresa Harke and Rep. Sherrie Sprenger (R-Scio):