Gay-rights group files claim
Basic Rights Oregon acts on complaints about alleged practices by some Defense of Marriage signature gatherers
An Oregon gay-rights group filed an election law complaint Monday against certain practices in the initiative petition drive to place a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage on the November ballot.
Basic Rights Oregon claims that some circulators for the Defense of Marriage Coalition required local food bank clients to sign the petition before receiving food boxes; falsely swore that signatures were witnessed when petitions were left unattended at churches; misrepresented the petition and used coercive signature collection techniques.
"The numbers alone were upsetting," Roey Thorpe, executive director of Basic Rights Oregon, said. "But the nature of these complaints was especially disturbing."
The secretary of state's office -- which includes the Elections Division -- will investigate the complaint to determine whether the charges warrant referral to the attorney general for action, said Fred Neal, a state elections manager