Advocates for gay marriage start petition drive

The push for gay marriage kicked off in Ashland this morning as petitioners hit the streets in search of 116,284 signatures statewide to get on the November 2014 ballot.

"This has been a long time coming. I want to marry my wife," said Gina DuQuenne, after a 20-minute training in how to gather legal signatures of Oregon voters. "We're domestic partners and have been together 15 years, but domestic isn't good enough. I want to be accepted, not just tolerated." The training was done by Oregon United for Marriage at Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, then DuQuenne hit Main Street in quest of the 25 signatures most petitioners signed up to collect.

The event was overseen by the church's Rev. Leslie Becknell Marx, who performed gay marriages in Massachusetts, where it was legal — and says she stands ready to perform Duquenne's ceremony if it passes here.

"I looked a long time for my husband and I know what it is to find the right person," Becknell Marx said. "To deny anyone the sacred union they want is heartbreaking to me."

The training and petitions forms will be available at the church at 10, 3 and 7 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

— John Darling

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