PORTLAND -- Gay marriage supporters across Oregon, including in Portland, began a campaign to collect signatures Friday for a ballot initiative to legalize same-sex marriage.

The signature drive started Friday morning at Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

Oregon United for Marriage, the group behind the drive, has one year to get more than 116,000 signatures. Members from the group said the time is right for gay marriage to be legalized in Oregon.

More and more people are talking to their friends and family and neighbors, and they are coming to understand that gay and lesbian couples want to marry for similar reasons anyone else wants to marry for love and commitment, said Peter Zuckerman with Oregon United for Marriage.

Ten years age, voters approved a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as being between one man and one women. If the group succeeds, a referendum on gay marriage will be put on the 2014 ballot.

Polls show a majority of Oregonians would vote for gay marriage by a slight margin and both sides will be digging in for the fight.

Protect Marriage Oregon is one of the groups opposed to same-sex marriage. It believes the amendment should not be changed.

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