O’Donnell Statement Celebrating Oregonians’ Right to Marry

Assembly Member O’Donnell celebrates Judge Michael McShane’s decision to strike down Oregon’s Constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, Measure 36:

Congratulations, Oregon! There is nothing like winning the right to marry in your own state.

When Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage, my partner and I were asked why we didn’t get married there. Our answer was simple: we wanted to get married in our home state. We were both born and raised in New York State. We live in New York still, and since 2003 I have served as an elected representative here. If our state could not recognize our right to marry, we would wait. Just as Oregonians have. But we did not and will not wait passively. I introduced a Marriage Equality bill to the New York State legislature in 2007. Three governors, four years, and a massive grassroots movement later, we were able to pass this historic act through both houses of the Legislature in 2011.

Now, with Oregon squarely in the “justice” column, we have raised the number of states with Marriage Equality to 18, and every year the momentum grows. But as encouraging as the tide of history appears to be, we cannot stand back and hope that “momentum” will do the rest of the work for us. We are seeking the right to be treated as full Americans, just like our straight allies. Until every person in every state has that right, our efforts are still needed.

I look forward to working with Oregon’s newly minted Marriage Equality champions to continue the struggle.