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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Gay Marriage Signature Gathering Off To Rapid Start in Oregon

Garry Knight

Gay rights advocates say their campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in Oregon is off to a more rapid start than expected. Backers of the effort said Tuesday that they've gathered more than 42,000 signatures in just over two weeks.

The campaign is relying heavily on volunteers, who are aided in part by this catchy video that outlines the basic rules of collecting names. Such as, voters must sign with a pen.

The voice on the video quips, "No pencils, no invisible ink, no barbecue sauce, and no erasers."

They'll need about 116,000 valid signatures but they have until next July to turn them all in.

Peter Zuckerman, spokesperson for Oregon United for Marriage, says that is a very reachable goal. "The amount of support and enthusiasm for this is incredible."

The swift kick-off to the campaign could foreshadow a spirited public debate if the petition does make it to the ballot.

Oregon voters banned same-sex marriage in 2004. One of the groups behind that effort, the Oregon Family Council, promises to oppose the current attempt to overturn it.

On the Web:

Same sex marriage FAQ - Oregon United for Marriage
Position on marriage - Oregon Family Council
Measure 36 (2004) voting summary -