Audio: Evan Wolfson Talks Marriage Equality

KLCC Public Radio
November 4, 2009
KLCC's Jes Burns sat down on Wednesday with Freedom to Marry executive director Evan Wolfson and Basic Rights Oregon's Jeana Frazzini to talk about the current state of the marriage equality movement - and a new campaign launched this week in Oregon. [audio recording available by clicking on speaker icon at Link]

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Oregon Group Launches Drive for the Freedom to Marry

The Oregonian
November 2, 2009
Basic Rights Oregon, which plans to put an initiative on the 2012 ballot that would lift Oregon's ban on marriage equality, will hold rallies Monday night in Portland, Tuesday night in Bend and Wednesday evening in Eugene. Evan Wolfson, founder and executive director of Freedom to Marry, will speak at all of the Basic Rights kick-off events: "[Marriage] is one of the most important statements we make about who we are,” he said. “It is so important to commitment and love that most people wear the symbol of it on their hands.” [Link]

Get more information on Oregon events here.

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Guest Op-Ed: Evan Wolfson - Why Marriage Matters

BlueOregon
October 30, 2009
Join Evan Wolfson and Basic Rights Oregon in kicking off this important dialogue in three locations next week:

Monday night 11/2: Due to a fire at SEIU HQ, the event has been moved to Portland State's Smith Center in the Vanport Room, #338
Tuesday night 11/3: Bend, Oregon at Old Stone Church, 157 NW Franklin Ave, at 7 p.m. -- and if
Wednesday night 11/4: Eugene, Oregon at the Public Library, 100 W 10th Ave, at 6 p.m. More event details here. And join the dialogue at MarriageMattersOregon.org.

Christopher and Patrick, an Oregon couple, registered for a domestic partnership so they would be protected in the event of a crisis. But earlier this year, when Christopher was gravely ill in the hospital, Patrick was told that he couldn’t be at his partner’s bedside. Why? Because they were not married. The hospital staff said Patrick was not considered “family.”

One of the reasons partnership laws like Oregon’s aren’t good enough is that they pointedly – and pointlessly – withhold one of the main protections that comes with marriage: being married.

Marriage matters. When you say those simple words – “We’re married” – there’s no doubt what it signifies. It says “we’re family” in a way that no other word can. It’s a universally understood expression of love, commitment, and the heartfelt desire to take responsibility for the ones we love. Marriage is a building block for strong families and strong communities and, for most of us, a personal commitment so important and defining that we wear its symbol on our hand.

This is the common-ground starting point from which Oregonians can begin a meaningful conversation about why marriage matters to all couples in loving long-term relationships – including Oregon’s caring, committed gay and lesbian couples.

I’ve been all around the country and talked to thousands of gay and lesbian Americans and their families. I’ve seen gay couples raising great kids, struggling to make ends meet, worrying about their aging parents, and caring for one another in sickness and in health. They share everyone’s hopes and dreams, including the dream of a legal commitment to match the personal commitment they live out day-to-day, doing the work of marriage with the person they love.

Denied the freedom to marry, these families are denied the safety net marriage brings, touching every area of life from birth to death, with taxes in between. Yet legal protection isn’t the only concern; there is also the question of fairness. At its heart, the conversation about why marriage matters is as basic as the golden rule: Treat others as we would want to be treated.

Fairness and respect for each other are basic American and Oregon values. We honor these values when we ensure that all our neighbors have the opportunity to create a family with the love, commitment and protection that the freedom to marry offers. In America, we simply don’t make one set of rules for some, and another set for others.

These values of family, freedom, and fairness are why we need to start a conversation in Oregon – now, today – with our families, friends and neighbors, about why Oregon’s exclusion of committed couples from marriage must end.

This upcoming week, I am joining with Basic Rights Oregon to launch a grassroots effort to get Oregonians talking to each other about extending civil marriage to same-sex couples. The more we talk with the people around us – each of us the most effective ambassador to those in our lives – the more we help them think through how they’d feel if they were denied the freedom to marry the one they love, and how unnecessary this harmful exclusion is. Each one of us can, and should, engage people in conversation about why marriage matters. After all, there is no marriage without engagement.

Evan Wolfson is founder and executive director of Freedom to Marry, and author of "Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay People’s Right to Marry." [Link]

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Earl Blumenauer: An Historic and Emotional Moment

The Huffington Post
October 28, 2009
One of Freedom to Marry's Voices for Equality, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), celebrates the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act: "... in the dance of legislation, sometimes the harder, more controversial measures have as their champions not members of the House or Senate, but eloquent, determined, focused and ultimately victorious people from the community who refuse to give up. [Link]

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Freedom to Marry’s Evan Wolfson to Speak in Bend, Oregon on Tuesday, November 3rd

tsweekly.com
October 28, 2009
The Human Dignity Coalition announces a talk by Evan Wolfson, named by Time Magazine as "one of the 100 most powerful and influential people in the world." "He will give us all the confidence to speak about why marriage matters so that we can begin having crucial conversations...neighbor to neighbor, friend to friend."
Evan Wolfson
7 p.m. Tuesday, November 3
Old Stone Church, 157 NW Franklin Avenue
Bend, Oregon
385-3320 or http://www.humandignitycoalition.org/.

[Link]

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Two Powerful Videos from Basic Rights Oregon

Basic Rights Oregon
October 22, 2009

Two videos from Basic Rights Oregon make strong statements in favor of marriage equality. [Link]



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Evan Wolfson to Speak in Oregon on November 2-4

Basic Rights Oregon Blog
October 6, 2009

Already six states embrace the freedom to marry. Will Oregon be next? How can we win marriage for same-sex couples in Oregon, and how long will it take?

Winning the Freedom to Marry: How Oregon Can Lead the Nation
A discussion with the nation's top advocate for marriage equality, Evan Wolfson, Executive Director of Freedom to Marry.




Monday, November 2
6:00 PM
SEIU Local 49
3536 SE 26th Ave.
Portland, OR 9720

Tuesday, November 3
7:00 p.m.
Old Stone Church in Bend
157 NW Franklin Ave.

Light refreshments will be served.

Wednesday, November 4
6:00pm
Eugene Public Library
100 W 10th Ave
Eugene, OR 97401
Thank you to the following co-sponsors: Basic Rights Oregon Education Fund, Unitarian Universalists Fellowship of Central Oregon, Human Dignity Advocates of Crook County, GLBTbend.com, PFLAG Central Oregon, Human Dignity Coalition & Spice Trader Records

For more information, contact: www.aclu-or.org

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Basic Rights Oregon (BRO) Launching Marriage Matters Campaign

Just Out
July 29, 2009
BRO Press Release: To win public support for the freedom to marry, we need to open up a real dialogue with Oregonians. This means talking to people face-to-face, and explaining why marriage matters to committed gay and lesbian couples. [Link]

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Eventually, marriage equality will arrive

Oregon Mail Tribune
June 28, 2009
Many have said that, because a majority voted to approve Proposition 8 in California, nothing more is needed. Not quite. In 1922 Oregon voters passed a measure outlawing Catholic parochial schools. The measure was struck down as unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1925. Constitutions are sets of standards below which we cannot allow ourselves to go, even if a majority votes for it. Oregon has since passed statutes prohibiting "discrimination because of race, religion, color, sex, national origin, marital status, or age" in employment and housing. These statutes are sensible laws protecting minorities from the majority. [Link]

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Coquille marriage equality law takes effect

The Oregonian
May 21, 2009
A Coquille Indian Tribe law allowing marriage equality took effect on Wednesday, May 20, 2009. The law recognizes the freedom to marry and extends to gay and lesbian partners, at least one of whom must be Coquille, all tribal benefits of marriage. Neither Washington nor Oregon have legalized marriage equality, but as a federally recognized sovereign nation, the tribe is not bound by the Oregon Constitution. [Link]

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