Those ubiquitous blue-shirted Basic Rights Oregon (BRO) volunteers have been hard at work this summer. Since July, activists hoping to achieve marriage equality and overturn Oregon’s ban on gay marriage have gathered 80,764 signatures (of the 116,284 necessary to qualify) for the November 2014 ballot. Eugeneans can get involved from 2 to 4 pm Sunday, Sept. 22, at BRO’s annual garden party fundraiser at a private residence.
“It’s going to be a really wonderful opportunity for people to be able to connect with the campaign and really get involved,” says Kathy Formella, a community organizer with BRO’s Oregon United For Marriage coalition. While the campaign is off to a successful start, she says it will need more volunteers to finish signature gathering and to persuade equality-minded voters to turn in their ballots come November 2014.
Jeana Frazzini, executive director of Basic Rights Oregon, will update partygoers on the status of the campaign and how they can help, and Mayor Kitty Piercy and Oregon House Majority Leader Val Hoyle will also help out with the celebration. LCC instructor Mark Harris will provide entertainment. The suggested donation is $25, but no one will be turned away.
Formella says that attitudes have changed a lot in Oregon, and in Eugene, since the amendment banning marriage equality won a popular vote in 2004, illustrated by the reaction to one BRO-shirted petition-gatherer walking along the street in Eugene. “A total stranger pulled over abruptly, jumped out of the car and said, ‘I need to sign the petition! I’ve been looking for one,’” she says. To sign a petition and learn more about the garden party, see http://wkly.ws/1k0.