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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Two Groups, One Cause: "Freedom to Marry" Campaign Launches in OR

Two Groups, One Cause: "Freedom to Marry" Campaign Launches in OR

August 30, 2011
Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR

PORTLAND, Ore. - The focus is on what unites people, rather than what divides them, in a new campaign in Oregon to promote strong families, no matter what their members' sexual orientations. The immigrants' rights group CAUSA, and Basic Rights Oregon, which advocates for GLBT Oregonians, have launched a new campaign to prompt discussion among Latinos about the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.

Francisco Lopez, executive director of CAUSA, says it's a matter of human rights, already a familiar challenge to immigrants in Oregon.

"We have been struggling for equality for these many years. But we want equality for everybody in the Latino community, regardless of the color of your skin, you know, or your sexual orientation, and that's what we're doing. And this is something that we Latinos understand very very well."

Lopez says the campaign, called "Our Families," includes radio ads, community forums and leadership development in the GLBT community.

In the most recent poll by the Pew Research Center, 41 percent of Hispanics in the United States favor same-sex marriage and 47 percent oppose it, a gap that has narrowed in the past few years.

Jeana Frazzini, executive director of Basic Rights Oregon, says the two groups have worked together before, but it's usually been in the face of having to defend their rights against conservative political efforts.

"There have been many years of anti-gay and anti-immigrant ballot measures in Oregon, and so to be doing something that's positive and affirming, and on our own terms, is very fulfilling."

Frazzini says they're still considering whether to put same-sex marriage to a vote on the Oregon ballot in 2012, and that advocates will do so only if they believe there's a reasonable expectation of success. The going could be tough, however, with such groups as the National Organization for Marriage supporting a federal constitutional amendment "defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman."


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