No on 9 Remembered: Educational Outreach

The grassroots effort to defeat the hateful anti-LGBTQ Measure 9 in 1992 reflected a profusion of creativity, commitment, and courage that collectively reached thousands of Oregonians, solidifying No votes and in some cases, changing hearts and minds.

New organizations sprang up as vehicles for those who wanted to take a different approach to the entire campaign. Others were created to focus on a particular strategy or audience. Some initiatives, like the extensive organizing within the labor movement and the collaborative Oregon Democracy Project, tapped into the skills and relationships of existing organizations.

The 150-mile, two-week Walk for Love & Justice was one of the scores of creative ways that Oregonians sought to educate their communities about what was at stake with Ballot Measure 9. This month along with revisiting the Walk, we profile the essential role organized labor played in defeating Measure 9, and a range of other educational outreach efforts. Photo Linda Kliewer.

Eric K. Ward was involved in several of these educational efforts — speaking on panels and radio programs, writing intersectional analysis, and helping to sponsor the Walk for Love & Justice.

This month’s stories are about bridge-building — the courageous risks and personal truth-telling that helped to defeat one of the harshest antigay measures ever put to American voters. Each story offers a unique prism on how this epic battle for civil and human rights can impart lessons for today’s fight for inclusive democracy.


“I was so proud to be out and loud in my union,” Robert Doyle told us through our Contact Form. Learn more about how Oregon’s public employee unions helped lead the fight against Measure 9, through our conversations with union leaders then and now, and our reprint of organizer Beckie Capoferri’s section in NGLTF’s 1993 Fight the Right Action Kit.


“Teaching people to just think about it,” was the heart of the work, Anne Sweet says. “Helping them to make a personal connection, how Measure 9 would negatively impact them if this passed.” Read about some of the forms that outreach took, including the anti-oppression awareness Anne and others fostered in trainings and community settings; Elaine Vasquez and Barbara Bernstein’s video, “Fighting for Our Lives;” the Oregon Speak Out Project; and the Coalition for Human Dignity’s intersectional publications.

Screenshot from the 20-minute video Fighting for Our Lives, in which Elise Self personalizes the stakes of the measure by talking about her fears for her daughter. Used with permission from video producers Barbara Bernstein & Elaine Velasquez.


The Walk for Love & Justice proclaimed, “We will walk proudly and with purpose — taking the agenda out of the hands of the OCA and going directly to the people of Oregon, asking them to stand with us for justice and against hate.” Read more about this landmark event in our conversation with organizer Anne Galisky and participant Kelley Weigel.

This effort 30 years ago illustrates that every one of us can do something to be part of defending inclusive democracy — grounded in our values and what we choose to affirm through our courage and visibility.

To each person committed to defending democracy and all who are wondering what is asked of us in these fractious times, we hope that No on 9 Remembered encourages you to be brave. To take action and take heart.

To remembering the past and shaping the future,

Holly J. Pruett, Senior Fellow
No on 9 Remembered Co-Curator

P.S. A big shout out to ShoutOUT, the digital news outlet now serializing No on 9 Remembered in weekly posts. Western States Center also thanks GLAPN, the Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific NW, for inviting us to share No on 9 Remembered at their “Lessons of Measure 9” event last month. Wish you could have attended? Watch the event recording where we provide an overview of Measure 9, followed by a fantastic panel featuring Kathleen Saadat, Ramón Ramírez, Anne Galisky, and Pat Young (all featured on our site). Follow the GLAPN Calendar for other No on 9 commemorative events.



Based in the Pacific Northwest and Mountain States, Western States Center works nationwide to strengthen inclusive democracy.

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Western States Center

Based in the Pacific Northwest and Mountain States, Western States Center works nationwide to strengthen inclusive democracy.