Oregon Ballot Measure 36 (2004)

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Ballot Measure 36 of 2004 amended the Oregon Constitution by adding the following provision to Article 15 as Section 5a:[1]
It is the policy of Oregon, and its political subdivisions, that only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or legally recognized as a marriage.

The measure was placed on the ballot through an initiative petition brought by the Defense of Marriage Coalition, a group dedicated to "preserving marriage as a union only between one man and one woman". The group was formed in reaction to same-sex marriages performed in Multnomah County and Benton County after their respective county commissions interpreted the Oregon Constitution and Oregon law as authorizing the issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Supporters of the measure, in addition to opposing same-sex marriage on principle, were also angry by the controversial means by which the Multnomah County Commission had come to its decision: no public hearings were held before the commission voted to allow the marriages and one of the commissioners, Lonnie Roberts, was not informed of the move until after the other commissioners began issuing licenses. Roberts criticized the "clandestine way" that the decision was made and speculated that he had not been included in the discussion because the other commissioners knew that he wouldn't support their decision. [2] [3]. Supporters also wanted to prevent the state courts from coming to the same conclusion as the county commissions--that the state constitution and law required the government to license same-sex marriage--before several standing civil rights lawsuits on the issue could be resolved.

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