(KMTR) -- A major change for same-sex couples on the west coast could come as early as Monday, as Washington
’s Governor Christine Gregoire prepares to sign a bill to legalize gay marriage. But while Washington
is making change, where do things stand in Oregon
? And is there any change on the way?
Same-sex marriage activists are sharing their long-range plans about what they’d like to see happen in Oregon.
The group leading the marriage equality movement in Oregon, Basic Rights Oregon says the issue will likely remain unchanged in the state for the next two years.
In 2004, Oregon voters passed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between “one man and one woman.”
Ultimately, any change to the constitutional amendment will likely have to be passed by Oregon voters, unless Oregon courts or the U.S. Supreme Court takes up the issue.
Because of that, Basic Rights Oregon says it wants to make sure it has the support necessary before it proposes an amendment change in Oregon.
The group spent time this fall touring Oregon to talk to people about a November 2012 ballot, but felt that with today’s climate, there wasn’t enough support and would feel rushed.
“We just see it as a need to continue the work that we're doing. We've been very successful with our public education campaign in changing people's hearts and minds,” says Victoria Smithweiland of Basic Rights Oregon in Eugene.
Basic Rights Oregon says it is now looking at 2014 as a possible year to introduce a change to marriage law in Oregon.
The group says the changes in Washington and California are inspiring though.
“Gay people want to be married for similar reason that anybody, for love and commitment, and it is a human dignity issue,” says Smithweiland.
Basic Rights Oregon says over the next two years, it will continue to tour the state and talk to people are same sex marriage.
While the Washington State Legislature passed a law to allow same sex marriage, Oregon's legislature cannot do that because marriage is defined in the state Constitution. Unlike California, so far, Oregon’s courts have refused to hear any legal challenges to the state's marriage definition.