Monday, April 28, 2008

Gay Marriage In Oregon, We Need To Vote

This came to me from my friend David Crowe from Restore America:

The Challenge Before Us

Status of Initiatives 144-145-146
April 25, 2008

Of growing concern to the Concerned Oregonians Leadership Team, including Hub Leaders and our Circulators, is the diminishiing time to gather Initiative Petition signatures for Initiatives 144 and 145. Many have asked why it is taking so long. The below synopsis of the history and current challenges to Oregonian's right to VOTE on the two most culturally devastating and detrimental bills in Oregon history is provided for your information, prayer, and action.

The Early Battle

At the end of the Legislative Session last summer, State law allowed only 90 days to turn in 55,000 valid signatures on each of two Referendums (303 and 304) in order to place by HB 2007 and SB 2 on the November 2008 Ballot. The date for submission of those signatures was September 26th.
Former State Senator Marylin Shannon, formed an organization called Defense of Marriage, Again and filed the two original referendums.

With the encouragement of several well known Oregon leaders, I formed Concerned Oregonians to aid Senator Shannon in the collection of signatures. Of the 63,000 signatures that were delivered to the Elections Division on each referendum, approximately 50,000 were gathered by Concerned Oregonians.
Confronting the State of Oregon

With the determined action of Christians throughout Oregon, we DID get the signatures. The Elections Division, however, along with several County Clerks, unlawfully removed just enough valid signatures to ensure we would not meet the state requirement. With the sacrificial aid of several volunteers, we commenced a time consuming journey in October and November in concert with the Alliance Defense Fund, to find and persuade unlawfully invalidated signers to become plaintifs in the law suit that was filed in early December, and granted a hearing on December 28th. On that date the District Federal Judge denied HB 2007 from becoming law on January 1st, and scheduled Feb 1st, for a full hearing.

From October through January, the entire effort at the behest of ADF was conducted by myself and a team of Concerned Oregonians volunteers.
Refiling as Initiatives

On February 1, the day of the Federal Court hearing in Portland, Senator Shannon indicated to the media that she would be filing two initiatives so the people could VOTE on both bills. Shortly thereafter she wrote a guest editorial for The Oregonian confirming same. She also changed the name of her organization from Defense of Marriage, Again, to "Let Oregon Vote" and advised me that her legal effort was well underway with several state legislators committed to be Chief Petitioners.

On February 29th Initiative 144 was filed in order to place HB 2007 on the November Ballot. Initiative 145 was filed the following Monday, March 3rd.

Those dates commenced a process under Oregon Law that we cannot change.

The Ballot Title Certification Process

The Attorney General has 10 business days from the date of filing the Initiatives, to prepare a 'draft ballot'. The draft ballot for 144 was announced on March 10th, and 145 on the 11th.

Then commences a 10 business days window for public 'comment' meaning that individuals or organizations with their attorneys can file legal papers objecting to the draft wording of the AG. Basic Rights Oregon, and the ACLU attorney, as expected, filed their objections the very last day, March 24th.

The Attorney General then has another 10 business days to present to the Secretary of State a 'certified ballot title' with explanatory letter. That occurred on April 8th, at which time an appeal period of 10 more business days is allowed for 'any elector' (In this case Basic Rights Oregon and the ACLU) "may petition the (OR) Supreme Court for a different title." That ended at 5PM on April 22nd, at which time BRO and the ACLU appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court.

(This same process applies to Initiatives 145 and 146)
The Oregon Supreme Court

The AG's Ballot Wording for 144 and 145 is now before the Oregon Supreme Court, a court with the most openly 'gay' Justices of any state supreme court in the nation.

This Court could decide quickly - which is unlikely without pressure from the public - leaving us about the same amount of time they allowed for the Defense of Marriage Coalition to come up with over 100,000 signatures, or...they could take their time, which would make it very, very hard if not impossible to come up with those signatures, unless we are extremely well organized throughout the State with many churches onboard, their congregations informed and ready to sign the petitions.
Our Challenge:

Initiative 144 is legally flawed and apparently beyond use. Now corrected, it has been refiled, by Marylin Shannon, as Initiative 146.

The process described above is underway on 146, and it may well be too late to get to the people for signature and then to the Elections Division by the deadline, which is July 3rd.

The likelihood is that we will have just enough time to get enough signatures for 145 on the ballot, but not 146.
The Arm of the LORD is not too short!

The need now is for steadfastness, not faintheartedness, faith, not doubt and unbelief. God loves to work miracles especially when the unbelieving think it is impossible.

If Christians around the state arise to meet the challenge, we can obtain the 100+ thousand signatures in only a few weeks, but we will have to believe God, do what is necessary to prevail, and pray the LORD will spur the Oregon Supreme to act 'expeditiously' as the law requires, with no excuses.

Please stand with all those in Restore America and Concerned Oregonians who have worked diligently but have had no control over the legal work, the filings, and the judges. Fortunately, He does! Ask the brethren everywhere, including our pastors, to pray that the Body of Christ does not lose heart.

Pray for Marylin Shannon. She has labored in sickness and pressure, and I know this is burdensome for her. Pray for all of us, and the Body of Christ in Oregon. If we press on and do not lose heart, this could become the greatest victory in Oregon history....and all... to the Glory of God.


David Crowe
Restore America

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