Publication Date


Document Type



Published in the City Club of Portland Bulletin, Vol. 97, No.4, August 13, 2014

In the Spring of 2014, petitioners began collecting signatures to place Initiative Petition 52 (IP 52) on the November 2014 Ballot. If passed, it would protect a personi acting in a nongovernmental capacity, who refuses to "celebrate, participate in, facilitate, or support" a same-sex marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership ceremony or arrangements, if doing so violates the person's "deeply held religious beliefs."

As of July 2014 petitioners had failed to qualify for the ballot. In the interim your committee completed its review of IP 52, and submits the following report, with the hope that our work can inform City Club of Portland, as well as local, state and national communities, on future questions related to this issue.

After review, your committee found that passage of IP 52, or any similar law, would benefit a narrow band of Oregon residents. However, it would have disproportionately negative impacts on same-sex couples who, although legally allowed to marry in the state of Oregon, would not be provided the same protection against discrimination in the marketplace that opposite-sex couples are provided. Your committee recognizes that it may truly offend the conscience and beliefs of deeply religious people to have to serve same-sex couples. However, protection against discrimination for same-sex couples does not constitute reverse discrimination against those with deeply held religious beliefs. The Initiative’s harm to same-sex couples’ dignity is clearly its most troubling aspect.

Your committee made repeated and rigorous efforts to interview witnesses who were proponents of the Initiative. All of the Initiative’s Petitioners invited to give testimony declined. Your committee was troubled by the willingness of proponents to bring forth the Initiative yet unwilling to give testimony in its support. Nonetheless, your committee believes it has reviewed the issue thoroughly and fairly.

Your committee concludes that City Club of Portland should oppose passage of IP 52 and any similar law.

Recommendation: The committee unanimously recommends a no vote.

Persistent Identifier



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.