Oregon Republicans voted Saturday to endorse a potential ballot measure legalizing gay marriage in the state, following the lead of young party activists who have urged the state GOP to get behind the issue.
Delegates at the three-day Dorchester Conference in Seaside, Ore. voted 233-162 to endorse the measure, which activists hope will get enough signatures to appear on the November ballot.
As the Associated Press notes, Oregon Republicans have not won a statewide election since 2002, prompting some in the party to reassess where the GOP can appeal to more voters.
"I believe this is a wedge issue that forces young people into the Democratic Party's hands," Oregon House candidate Jacob Vandever said, according to The Oregonian.
Oregon's constitution currently includes a statewide ban on same-sex marriage. However, as legal challenges have mounted against the amendment, Oregon's Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said last month she would not defend the ban.
"Because we cannot identify a valid reason for the state to prevent the couples who have filed these lawsuits from marrying in Oregon, we find ourselves unable to stand before (the federal judge) to defend the state's prohibition against marriages between two men or two women," Rosenblum said at a news conference last month.
As of last month, activists had gathered over 160,000 signatures in support of the same-sex marriage ballot measure, which would amend the state constitution.