Portland Timbers and Thorns Endorse Freedom to Marry Initiative

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

The Timbers and Thorns became the first major sports teams to endorse the Freedom to Marry and Religious Protection Initiative.

The Portland Timbers and Thorns, as well as Merritt Paulson, announced their support for the Freedom to Marry and Religious Protection Initiative today in a press release from Oregon United for Marriage. The initiative would legalize marriage for same-sex couples in Oregon and, if it can get the required number of signatures, would appear on the ballot in November.

Although a number of teams, particularly in Major League Soccer, have decided to endorse campaigns like "It Gets Better" or become "soccer allies", this marks the first time that a major sports team in the United States has endorsed a ballot initiative of this type.

As a part of the teams' endorsement, COO Mike Golub appeared in a short video that you can find here, saying, "We believe it's time for Oregon to recognize this fundamental right and we hope you will join us at the Timbers and Thorns, and affirm this right to marry at the ballot next November."

If you want to talk politics in the comments on this one, you can, but please keep it civil.

The OUFM press release:

Portland Timbers, Portland Thorns FC, Team Owner Merritt Paulson Endorse the Freedom to Marry and Religious Protection Initiative

Portland, Ore -- Today, the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer, Portland Thorns FC of the National Women’s Soccer League, and team Owner/President Merritt Paulson announced their endorsement of the Freedom to Marry and Religious Protection Initiative. The initiative would make it legal for same-sex couples to marry in Oregon.

This announcement marks the first major U.S. professional sports teams to endorse a same-sex marriage ballot campaign.

"We could not be more thrilled to have the early and strong support of these iconic and beloved teams," said Jeana Frazzini, Chair of Oregon United for Marriage, the coalition working to put the Freedom to Marry and Religious Protection Initiative on the November 2014 ballot. "Oregon is uniting to affirm the freedom to marry at the ballot next November, and we are proud to have the Timbers, Thorns FC, and Merritt Paulson join our coalition as leaders among sports organizations."

"We are proud to support Oregon United for Marriage and its efforts to secure the freedom to marry for all Oregonians next November," Paulson said.

Team COO Mike Golub announced the endorsement in a brief video released on Oregon United for Marriage’s Youtube page: http://youtu.be/qP_Sl0BBPqY

We believe it’s time for Oregon to recognize this fundamental right," Golub says in the video. "And we hope you will join us at the Timbers and Thorns, and affirm this right to marry at the ballot next November."

A growing coalition of organizations large and small are signing on to support Oregon United for Marriage’s effort to secure the freedom to marry at the ballot. In Oregon, volunteers are gathering signatures needed to put the Freedom to Marry and Religious Protection Initiative on the ballot in November 2014. As of October 10, volunteers across the state have collected more than 91,114 signatures, each one representing an Oregonian who values extending the freedom to marry to all couples.

Oregon United for Marriage is a broad coalition of individuals and organizations working to win the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in Oregon. We believe marriage and family are about love and commitment, working together, bettering the community, raising children, and growing old together. We believe in an Oregon that supports strong families and values freedom and equality. And we believe that marriage matters. To all Oregonians.

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