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Oregon Same-Sex Marriage Supporters Look To Washington For Inspiration

Chantal Andrea
/
Northwest News Network

Gay rights groups hope Oregon will be the next state to legalize same-sex marriage at the ballot. Washington did that this week. But to follow suit, Oregon voters would have to reverse themselves and repeal a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Voters passed that ban in 2004 after a campaign led by the conservative Oregon Family Council. Spokeswoman Teresa Harke says her group will oppose any efforts to overturn it.

"I think there are still a lot of people who support one man, one woman marriage. And we are ready to fight for that."

But public opinion about same-sex marriage has changed a lot since 2004. David Masci of the Pew Research Center says polling over the past decade nationally has shown a dramatic shift. And he adds, opponents of same-sex marriage tend to be older.

"What we have here of course, is that the people who are most in opposition to this are ... this is a shrinking group of people because they're dying."

But Masci says a 2014 gay marriage ballot measure in Oregon would be no slam dunk. He says advocates would need a strong turnout from younger voters to repeal the same-sex marriage ban.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.

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