PORTLAND -- An Oregon group has announced plans to put same-sex marriage protections on the state ballot by next year.

Oregon United for Marriage hopes to put a measure on the 2014 ballot making it legal for gay and lesbian couples to marry in the state, said spokeswoman Amy Ruiz. The group set up a petition committee with the Secretary of State's office Monday.

In Oregon, the only way to amend the state constitution to include the freedom to marry is through a vote of the people, Ruiz explained Monday morning. The paperwork filed today creates a sponsorship petition that triggers the ballot title process, the first of several steps to place a measure on the November 2014 ballot.

In 2012, voters in Washington, Maine and Maryland voted to approve same-sex marriage, and voters in Minnesota blocked a ban on same-sex marriage.

Oregon voters in 2004 approved Measure 36, which amended the state constitution to declare that only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or legally recognized as a marriage.

Related: Clark Co. prepares for gay marriage licenses

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