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Oregon Family Council files ballot initiative to legalize discrimination

The Portland Tribune is reporting that anti-gay group Oregon Family Council has filed a ballot initiative to make it legal for those who oppose marriage equality to discriminate based on “religious freedoms:”

The East Portland group filed a state ballot initiative Thursday, Nov. 21, that would guarantee the right of people and businesses to refrain from participating in or supporting ceremonies for same-sex civil unions, domestic partnerships or marriages, if those violate their religious beliefs.

The group calls the measure the Protect Religious Freedom Initiative.

The measure is a response to public penalties and lawsuits brought against bakers, florists and photographers in Oregon, Washington, Colorado and New Mexico who refused to play roles in same-sex ceremonies for civil unions, domestic partnerships or marriages, says Teresa Harke communications director for Oregon Family Council.

Harke says the Council’s focus is moving more towards protecting “religious freedoms” versus opposing marriage equality as recent events show the advances for legalizing same-sex marriage across the country show the direction the country is taking on the issue.

In Oregon, recent polls show 53% support marriage equality.

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