First Advisor

David A. Johnson

Term of Graduation

Spring 1997

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in History






Homosexuality -- Law and legislation -- Oregon, Gay rights -- Oregon, Oregon Citizens Alliance



Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 191 pages)


In 1992 Oregon voters rejected Measure 9, an anti-gay initiative sponsored by the Oregon Citizens Alliance, a conservative, religious organization. Measure 9 sought to amend the Oregon Constitution to prohibit the state from establishing civil rights protections based on sexual orientation. Its passage also would have required government agencies and schools to set a standard that declared homosexuality as abnormal and perverse.

The Measure 9 campaign was emotional and divisive. Rhetoric was at an all-time high as the issue of gay-rights made front-page news, and Oregonians from all walks of life were forced to examine their beliefs about homosexuality, religion, family values, and discrimination. Oregon received world-wide attention as the campaign grew more sensational. Opponents blamed Measure 9 for creating a climate that contributed to the rise of violence. They also said Measure 9 was a danger to all Oregonians, as people wondered which group would be targeted next if it passed. Homosexuals were definitely the main target. The gay community responded to the threat in a variety of ways; from the formation of structured organizations to oppose it, to individuals acting on their own.

The thesis tells the story of Measure 9. It describes how and why the OCA was formed and why the OCA sponsored Measure 9. The thesis covers the main themes of the campaigns for and against Measure 9, and above all, documents how the gay community responded. Sources include newspaper articles, campaign literature, and personal interviews. Measure 9 is an example of the Religious Right operating at the local level. It's part of the history of gay-rights. And it's part of Oregon history.


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