Friends of Religious Freedom Committee
PORTAND, OR, February 20, 2014: The Friends of Religious Freedom Committee is deeply troubled at the lack of impartiality and fairness Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has shown in the draft ballot title for the Protect Religious Freedom Initiative (IP52). The language drafted by the Attorney General’s office for IP52 is misleading and riddled with politically charged and emotionally laden words that create bias and partiality.
Clear political preferentialism is seen when comparing the ballot title the Attorney General prepared for IP8 – the same sex marriage initiative – and the draft ballot title for the Protect Religious Freedom Initiative. The Attorney General didn’t use the politically charged words “discrimination” or “opposition” to identify the religious protection in IP8. If the Attorney General didn’t use the politically charged words for the protection in IP8, she shouldn’t use the politically charged words for the same protection in IP52. Doing so only displays the ballot title is not done “impartially,” as required by Oregon State Statute and prevailing case law.
Teresa Harke, spokesperson for Friends of Religious Freedom said, “Our hope is Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum will correct the language her office prepared for the Protect Religious Freedom Initiative to remove bias and partiality. Citizens of Oregon expect and deserve their Attorney General to be fair and impartial to all Oregonians. The Oregon Supreme Court may very well have the final say on the ballot title for the Protect Religious Freedom Initiative. We trust the Attorney General and the Oregon Supreme Court will see the importance of an accurate and fair ballot title to ensure people of faith will get a fair chance to be heard on this issue.”
Friends of Religious Freedom filed the Protect Religious Freedom Initiative in order to protect individuals that choose not to participate in same-sex ceremonies based on conscientious objections or deeply held religious belief from penalization or governmental sanctions. The chief petitioners of IP52 filed the public comments in this link today in response to the Attorney General’s proposed ballot title.
Oregonians will have the opportunity in November 2014 to protect religious freedom and individual conscience rights now and for future generations of Oregonians. We are confident that Oregonians will rally behind this cause to protect religious freedom and individual conscience rights.