Same-sex marriage vote raises questions.Byline: Jeff Wright Jeff Wright can refer to:
Vote yes, and you're legalizing discrimination.
Vote no, and you're paving the way to legalized polygamy polygamy: see marriage.
Marriage to more than one spouse at a time. Although the term may also refer to polyandry (marriage to more than one man), it is often used as a synonym for polygyny (marriage to more than one woman), which appears .
Those, at least, are among the arguments that supporters and opponents have put forth on behalf of ballot Measure 36, the hotly contested constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriages Noun 1. same-sex marriage - two people of the same sex who live together as a family; "the legal status of same-sex marriages has been hotly debated"
couple, twosome, duet, duo - a pair who associate with one another; "the engaged couple"; "an inseparable in Oregon.
But what's really likely to happen if the measure passes - or fails?
It's hard to say - beyond the fact that judges and lawyers will probably be wrestling with the issue for years, no matter what voters decide Nov. 2.
If the measure passes, "the question of whether the Oregon Constitution The Oregon Constitution is a U.S. state constitution, the governing document of the U.S. state of Oregon. It was ratified on November 9, 1857, and took effect when Oregon achieved statehood on February 14, 1859. Differences from U.S. allows same-sex couples A same-sex couple is a pair of people of the same gender who pursue a romantic or sexual relationship together.
The term "same-sex relationship" may be used when the sexual orientation of participants in a same-sex relationship is not known. to marry will be off the table," said Leslie Harris, a University of Oregon The University of Oregon is a public university located in Eugene, Oregon. The university was founded in 1876, graduating its first class two years later. The University of Oregon is one of 60 members of the Association of American Universities. law professor.
But other legal experts say passage won't immediately answer that question, or whether gay couples could even pursue the legal alternative of civil unions.
The stakes are high and, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. several polls, the number of undecided voters relatively low. Oregon is one of 11 states that will consider so-called "defense of marriage" constitutional amendments in November - but the only one in which opponents are given any chance of prevailing. Voters here rejected three anti-gay rights measures between 1992 and 2000.
The issue is muddied by a lawsuit before the Oregon Supreme Court The Oregon Supreme Court (OSC) is the highest state court in the U.S. state of Oregon. The only court that may reverse or modify a decision of the Oregon Supreme Court is the Supreme Court of the United States. , filed by the American Civil Liberties Union American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), nonpartisan organization devoted to the preservation and extension of the basic rights set forth in the U.S. Constitution. on behalf of six same-sex couples, challenging the state's refusal to allow them to marry. Opening arguments are slated for mid-November.
If Measure 36 passes, the lawsuit would become moot An issue presenting no real controversy.
Moot refers to a subject for academic argument. It is an abstract question that does not arise from existing facts or rights. - maybe.
The court still would have to decide whether Oregon law violates another portion of the constitution, which bars withholding privileges and benefits conferred to one group of citizens from any other group, said Kevin Neely, spokesman for the attorney general's office.
Bottom line? "Everyone has an opinion, but it's virtually impossible at this point to determine what impact the passage of ballot Measure 36 will have on the lawsuit," Neely said.
Kelly Clark Kelly Clark (born July 26, 1983) is an snowboarder born in Newport, Rhode Island. She has been snowboarding since she was 8 years old, and began competing in 1999. She became a member of the US Snowboard team in 2000, and later won a gold medal in the Winter Olympics. , a Portland lawyer advising the Defense of Marriage Coalition, said he believes Measure 36's passage would make the lawsuit void - except for one big exception: what to do about the roughly 3,000 marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples in Multnomah County last spring, before a trial judge ordered the county to stop.
A crucial factor for many undecided voters is whether gay couples could seek a law establishing civil unions, should Measure 36 pass. Most, but not all, legal experts say they assume that option would remain.
Among the doubters is Dom Vetri, a UO law professor with expertise in gay rights law and a plaintiff in the pending court case. A constitutional amendment that bans gay couples from marrying could be interpreted as also banning other legal arrangements that grant marriage-like benefits to gay couples, he said.
"The amendment language is unclear, setting up the possibility that a later court would say that civil unions are not permitted," Vetri said. "If the public wants to say no to marriage and yes to civil unions, they should pass an amendment that (explicitly) says so."
Similar amendments in other states ban same-sex couples from entering into either marriage or a civil union. Voters in Louisiana overwhelmingly approved just such an amendment last month - only to have a state judge throw it out Tuesday on grounds that it violates a state law limiting amendments to a single topic.
Oregon's proposed amendment addresses only marriage. Clark, the pro-Measure 36 lawyer, said supporters rallied specifically around the idea of protecting traditional marriage. "We've taken as narrow a tack as possible, because we've not wanted to fight about civil unions in the court," he said.
Also, the Defense of Marriage Coalition's own members are divided on whether same-sex couples should be able to pursue civil unions, Clark said.
But Rebekah Kassell, press secretary for the No on Constitutional Amendment 36 Committee, said the civil union debate is a false issue: Even if legally permissible, political realities in Oregon won't let it happen, she said.
"There's no hope of the Legislature delivering a civil union package anytime soon," she said, noting that legislators have for 32 years failed to pass out of committee a bill prohibiting discrimination in Oregon on the basis of sexual orientation sexual orientation
The direction of one's sexual interest toward members of the same, opposite, or both sexes, especially a direction seen to be dictated by physiologic rather than sociologic forces. . "The Oregon Republican Party The Oregon Republican Party is the state affiliate of the national Republican Party in Oregon. The first state party convention was held in Salem on April 21, 1859, and its first nominee for Congress, Portland attorney David Logan, came within sixteen votes of being elected. has said they're opposed to civil unions, and our opponents have made it clear they would fight any such attempt."
If Measure 36 fails, Kassell and other opponents said, the result is the political status quo [Latin, The existing state of things at any given date.] Status quo ante bellum means the state of things before the war. The status quo to be preserved by a preliminary injunction is the last actual, peaceable, uncontested status which preceded the pending controversy. : no ban on same-sex marriages, but also no immediate recourse to either marriage or civil union. The lawsuit before the state Supreme Court continues.
Measure 36 supporters, meanwhile, have warned that the amendment's defeat could lead to state-sanctioned polygamy. Clark said it's possible in light of opponents' assertion that marriage hinges not on the sanctity of a two-person relationship but rather on consenting adults' desire to be married - without specifying the number of consenting adults consenting adults npl → adultos con capacidad de consentir
consenting adults npl → personnes consentantes
consenting adults npl .
"So the same would apply to three people - there's no distinction," he said.
Harris, the UO law professor, said various restrictions on marriage - such as a couple's age or their relationship as first cousins - are imposed by society. Polygamy is typically frowned upon in part because of the economic disadvantage it imposes on women and children, she said.
"It's not that polygamy is automatically unconstitutional, but it's a different argument" than the arguments made for and against same-sex marriage, she said.
For their part, opponents have said Measure 36's passage would deny gay couples a range of benefits enjoyed by married couples - such as health insurance for spouses and children, inheritance rights and the right to make medical decisions.
But none of those benefits are currently made available by the state to same-sex couples, either. Some employers in the private and public sectors extend health and other benefits to same-sex partners same-sex partner Social medicine A domestic partner of the same genotypic sex. See Homosexual. and families.
Opponents also contend that Measure 36 would enshrine en·shrine also in·shrine
tr.v. en·shrined, en·shrin·ing, en·shrines
1. To enclose in or as if in a shrine.
2. To cherish as sacred. discrimination in the state constitution.
"But what we'd be doing is changing the constitution," Neely said. "We could change the constitution to make it unconstitutional to possess a peanut butter and jelly sandwich "PB&J" redirects here. PB&J may also refer to Peter Bjorn and John.
The peanut butter and jelly sandwich, also known as a peanut butter and jam sandwich in the UK, is a sandwich that includes a layer of peanut butter and either jelly or jam between two slices of bread. . The constitution is the mechanism by which voters can choose to either reduce or expand their rights."
BALLOT MEASURE 36
What it would do: Amend Oregon Constitution, limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples. The exact language reads, "It is the policy of the state 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."
Arguments in favor: Children do best with mom, dad; same-sex marriages defy cultural norms, laws of nature
Contact: Defense of Marriage Coalition, (877) 203-9595
Arguments against: Measure would enshrine discrimination in constitution, deny benefits to same-sex couples
Contact: No on Constitutional Amendment 36 Committee, (971) 244-1399 or 344-2811, www.noon36.com