2/28/2013 10:42:00 AM Activists seek to change marriage definition
Catholic News Service
Gay marriage supporters Susan McCray and Yvette Pratt watch election results at the No on 1/Protect Maine Equality election night rally in Portland, Maine in 2009.
Oregon activists who want same-sex unions to fall under the category of marriage have begun a new legalization campaign, hoping to place an initiative on the 2014 ballot.
Gov. John Kitzhaber and Portland Mayor Charlie Hales were among early signers in the petition drive, sponsored by Basic Rights Oregon. Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek and Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum have also shown support. The drive began on Valentine's Day with events in 14 Oregon cities. Recent polls in Oregon show 54 percent of voters favoring marriage for same-sex partners. The state already allows domestic partnerships, with most of the legal rights associated with marriage.
Voters in neighboring Washington state last year approved a plan to allow marriage for people with same sex attraction. Similar measures passed in Maryland and Maine.
Catholic leaders across the globe have been speaking out in defense of marriage, saying same-sex unions do not fit the definition given by nature. Often, bishops cite the 1982 apostolic exhortation "Familiaris Consortio," in which Pope John Paul II explained that at the heart of married love is the total gift of self that husband and wife freely offer to each other. Because of their sexual difference, the pope wrote, husband and wife can become “one flesh” and can give to each other “the reality of children, who are a living reflection of their love.”
Reflecting the papal teaching on marriage, the Catholic Catechism affirms that nature dictates what marriage is — a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman that is for the good of the couple, procreation and education of children.
Eight years ago, by a 57-43 margin, Oregon voters approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman. That vote was sparked when Multnomah County officials in 2004 began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Across the nation, 32 states have laws reserving marriage for couples of the opposite sex.