Central Oregon

C. Oregonians rally, sign same-sex marriage petition

Oregon United for Marriage seeks 2014 statewide vote

C. Oregonians hold petition drive for same-sex marriage

BEND, Ore. - It's the day of love, and while many spent Valentine's Day celebrating with flowers and chocolate, others here in Central Oregon rallied together to show their support for same-sex marriage.

"If two people love each other, they should be able to be together, and be recognized as together," Bend resident and same-sex marriage supporter Victoria Odinet said Thursday.

"It's a basic human right and its something that everybody deserves," said Oregon United for Marriage volunteer Trevor Hilton.

Oregon United for Marriage is a newly formed organization backed by Basic Rights Oregon, the state's largest support of gay rights.

The group launched a statewide petition drive on Thursday to gather support for an initiative to get marriage equality on the November 2014 ballot

And here in Central Oregon, about 90 people signed the petition.

In 2004, Oregonians defeated gay marriage, passing a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman -- and when we asked Thursday, some Central Oregonians said it needs to stay that way.

"It's against the Bible, it's against my beliefs, I can't support it," said Bend resident David Hughs.

And fellow Bend resident Crystal Guenthner agrees: "(I wouldn't support it) more for religious views, that's what the Bible teaches."

 A recent public policy poll found 54 percent of Oregonians would vote for marriage equality, while 40 percent said they would oppose it.

Tricia Stumpf and her partner are hopeful next November will be a different story from the vote a decade earlier.

"We've been married for almost a decade in British Columbia," Stumpf said. To come back to the United States as Americans and lose rights is really difficult."

 Some believe that with President Obama's support, and a few states leading the way, it's only a matter of time before same-sex marriage is legal here in Oregon.

"I know that I will see that before I die. Everything evolves as time goes on," said Bend resident Bob Horowitz.

To get a marriage equality initiative on the November 2014 ballot, Oregon United For Marriage will need to gather more than 116,000 signatures from Oregonians.

But you can take a stand on the issue now, in our KTVZ.COM Poll, halfway down the right side of our home page.

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