Monday, May 19, 2014

Oregon Becomes 18th Marriage Equality State!

As widely expected, openly gay federal judge Michael McShane today issued the 13th federal ruling since last year's Supreme Court decision in U.S. v. Windsor deciding in favor of marriage equality. The judge's 26 page decision in Geiger v. Kitzhaber was issued promptly at noon after an emergency stay in the proceedings filed by the National Organization for Marriage was denied by the 9th U.S. Circuit.

The Washington Blade reports:
Neither the timing nor the outcome of the case was a surprise. On Friday, McShane had announced he would make his decision in the litigation on Monday at noon Pacific Time (3 pm local time). In fact, Oregon United for Marriage had planned media coverage for the ruling and same-sex couples marrying afterward over the weekend without knowing the decision.  
McShane also rules against the state ban on same-sex marriage after not a single party would defend the law in court. It’s the first time ever that no party defended a ban on same-sex marriage during the course of a lawsuit seeking marriage equality.  
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced in February the law was indefensible, as did attorneys for Multnomah County, who were also named as a defendant in the lawsuit and had pledged to hand out licenses to same-sex couples as soon as law was struck down. 
Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage, Measure 38, is a state constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2004 by a 57-43 margin. But public opinion on marriage equality in Oregon is just about reversed since that time. Last year, Public Policy Polling found that 54 percent of Oregon residents would vote to legalize same-sex marriage at the ballot. 
Marriages should begin shortly in Oregon, although typically a 3-day waiting period is required after getting a marriage license, it can be waived in extenuating circumstances.

The judge's ruling means that an expensive ballot measure campaign to overturn measure 36 will not be unnecessary.

Congratulations to Oregon to joining the rest of the West Coast in Marriage Equality!

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