Thursday, October 17, 2013

Oregon To Recognize Legal Same-Sex Marriages (From Out of State)

Good news today out of Oregon. The "Chief Operating Officer" of Oregon, Michael Jordan, (not that Michael Jordan!) sent  a memo to all state agencies informing them that they should treat legally married same-sex couples as married under state law.
That means that gay couples who were legally married in other states are entitled to the same benefits in Oregon as any other married couple, said Matt Shelby, spokesman for the Department of Administrative Services. That would apply to everything from medical benefits to taxes to business licenses, he said.  
Jordan wrote the memo after receiving the seven-page legal opinion, which he had sought because of other states, including neighboring California and Washington now recognize same-sex marriage. 
Deputy Attorney General Mary Williams wrote that Oregon's constitutional prohibition on same-sex marriage "would likely be construed as also prohibiting recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages." However, she added, "such a construction would likely violate the federal constitution."
That's a big deal, because Oregon is sandwiched between two states, California and Oregon, which both have marriage equality. 

 Hopefully this will increase not decrease for marriage equality coming to Oregon itself, as the question of whether the state constitution should be amended to end marriage discrimination against same-sex couples will be on the November 2014 ballot and things look good for the discriminatory provision to be repealed. 

In addition, there is now a federal lawsuit working its way through the system in Oregon to win the freedom to marry for same-sex couples as well.

But until they can get married in their home state, Oregonian same-sex couples can atleast rest easy knowing they can get married and have their unions recognized in their home jurisdiction (and by the federal government!)

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