Campaign to Turn Away Same-Sex Couples Suspended


The Oregon Supreme Court approved the ballot language on Thursday. The campaign suspended its efforts 24 hours later, saying the ballot language as written by the office of the Oregon attorney general was unacceptable.

The campaign sought to portray the issue as one that frees business owners from having to violate their religious beliefs by abiding by Oregon law.

“But the certified ballot title does not acceptably state this,” Friends of Religious Freedom said in the release issued late Friday afternoon. “Indeed, it states it as intolerant instead of protecting equal rights of conscience.”

The ballot language approved said a “Yes” vote “creates ‘religious belief’ exceptions to anti-discrimination laws,” language the measure’s supporters said unfairly prejudiced voters against them.

I’m not quite sure how that language is biased [or portraying the religious as “intolerant”] in any way. It seems pretty accurate in what we are trying to do :shrug:. I find it somewhat cowardly they would just immediately give up on a ballot initiative because it wasn’t written in the rosiest terms the attorney general’s office could possibly come up with.


Hopefully, they haven’t entirely given up, but plan to restart.

And yeah, the language is technically accurate, but common use of words has changed to the point where “discrimination” is almost always read as “unjust treatment of people for no reason”. So many people will read “religious exemption to anti-discrimination laws” as “let Christians do illegal and unjust things.”

Which is dumb on several counts, starting with the “anti-discrimination” laws themselves and working on up to the fact that such phraseology takes advantage of the difference between the connotation and denotation of the word “discriminate” to pretend the way the proposal is stated actually is fair while making it sound like Christians want to do something equivalent to lynching black people. A better way of phrasing it would be “protect citizens from government intrusion into religious conscience decisions as they pertain to business” or similar.


I understand your argument, but I don’t think I agree with it. If the ballot initiative said that the law would provide “a religious exemption to discriminate,” I would agree with you. When someone hears about an “anti-discrimination law” though, it’s such a common phrase that I would even argue that the first thought doesn’t go to the word discrimination at all. The way you phrased would be an exceptionally favorable wording that would be quite biased towards the ballot submittees. The AG’s office was charged with coming up with a politically neutral phrasing; I believe they have done so.

Again, I believe that the group is cowardly for refusing to stand by an initiative not couched in the most favorable possible wording they could achieve. What’s the point of fighting for religious freedoms if the only way we can do so is, if not lying, at the very least misleading people about what we are trying to do? You need to change hearts through a campaign, not manipulate laws through voter confusion.


Given that the word “discriminate” is in “anti-discrimination law,” I’m not sure I agree with you about the phraseology. Mine would be be favorable to the initiative (though that is because it’s accurate and the initiative should pass), so perhaps there should be some other way of phrasing things in the middle.

But I do agree that if they gave up entirely, then they were being cowardly. If they plan to try again, because they are fairly sure from their own research that an initiative phrased in such a way would fail and then make it difficult to get anything passed phrased differently, though, that would make sense to me.


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