SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Gay rights backers plan to ask Oregon voters to reverse their ban on gay marriage.
Basic Rights Oregon said Monday it hopes to put the issue back before Oregon voters as soon as 2012.
In 2004, Oregon voters passed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between a man and a woman.
The announcement of the new Oregon campaign comes as voters in Washington state are deciding Tuesday whether to uphold that state's domestic partnership law.
Basic Rights has said that next year's election would likely be too soon to take the issue back to Oregon voters, but advocates want to begin laying the groundwork for an initiative campaign.
They have been encouraged by the legalization of same-sex marriage in six states: Massachusetts, Iowa, Maine, Vermont, Connecticut and New Hampshire. They believe Oregon voters eventually will be ready to move in that direction.
Oregon became one of the first places to allow gay marriage in 2004 when Multnomah County moved to legalize it. That lasted about six weeks until a judge ruled that there was no right to gay marriage under state law, thus invalidating 3,000 marriage licenses issued to gay and lesbian couples. Then voters approved the statewide constitutional amendment.,
Since then, the 2007 Legislature approved a domestic partners law giving same-sex couples some, but not all, of the rights and responsibilities afforded to married couples.
(Copyright 2009 The Associated Press)