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Oregon Marriage Measure 36 (2004)

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Oregon Ballot Measure 36 (2004) is an initiated constitutional amendment that would declare an official definition of marriage.

Under state statutes, a marriage is a civil contract entered into by a male and a female who solemnize the marriage by declaring "that they take each other to be husband and wife." There was ongoing litigation at the time concerning whether the current marriage statutes were valid under the Oregon Constitution. Ballot Measure 36 adds to the Oregon Constitution a statement of policy that only a marriage between one man and one woman is valid or legally recognized as a marriage.[1]

Official Ballot Title

Only Marriage Between One Man And One Woman Is Valid Or Legally Recognized As Marriage[2]


This measure appeared on the November 2004 General Election ballot and passed.


[3] Many supporters of this measure argued that traditional family values would be under attack as long as same-sex marriage was permitted. Some argued that children raised without a mother and a father would not be emotionally or physically "healthy", and that foster children would be more likely to be placed in same-sex households if homosexual marriage was "noralmized".

While certain supporters pointed out that Measure 36 is not about "hate", but about promoting a common good for Oregon, others such as the Traditional Prejudices Coalition took a stronger stance, calling homosexuals a "perverted" part of society and stating that those who do not follow the Bible will "burn in hell".

Some of the other supporters include:

  • State Representative Susan Morgan
  • Stronger Families for Oregon
  • Restore America
  • Representative Wayne Krieger
  • Parents Education Association
  • Senator Roger Beyer
  • Clark Brody Retired Superintendent, Oregon Department of Education
  • Gary George, State Senator
  • Defense of Marriage Coalition
  • Family Research Council
  • City Bible Church
  • New Hope Community Church
  • Cedar Mill Bible Church


[4] This measure was opposed by many people and organizations, including a number of churches and religious groups, who argued that Measure 36 wrongly allowed discrimination to be a part of the Oregon Constitution. Many pointed out that "love" should be the only deciding factor in whether a marriage is considered valid.

Some of those who opposed the measure include:

  • American Friends Service Committee
  • Community of Welcoming Congregations
  • Planned Parenthood of the Columbia Willamette
  • Central Pacific Conference of the United Church of Christ
  • Religious Response Network
  • The National Organization for Women, Corvallis Chapter
  • National Association of Social Workers, Oregon Chapter
  • Administrative Council of the University Park United Methodist Church
  • Outright Libertarians
  • State Rep. Kelley Wirth
  • State Senator Vicki L. Walker
  • The Session of Southminster Presbyterian Church


  1. Explanatory Statement of Measure 36 from the State Voting Guide
  2. Detailed information on this initiative from the Secretary of State
  3. Arguments in Favor from the State Voting Guide
  4. Arguments of Opposition from the State Voting Guide

See also