EUGENE, Ore. – Same-sex marriage is now legal in Oregon and couples wasted no time making it official. The ruling came down at about noon Monday. A federal judge says the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.
In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Michael McShane says Oregon’s marriage laws discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and violates the equal protection clause in the 14th amendment.
“The state’s marriage laws unjustifiably treat same gender couples differently than opposite gender couples,” Judge McShane said.
The laws assess a couple’s fitness for civil marriage based on their sexual orientation, opposite gender couples pass, same gender couples do not. No legitimate state purpose justifies the preclusion of gay and lesbian couples from civil marriage.
The National Organization for Marriage made another last minute attempt Monday to intervene. It filed an emergency stay in the case, trying to halt Judge McShane from making his decision, but the courts denied the request.
The National Organization for Marriage says it is disappointed, but not surprised with McShane’s ruling. It says it’s not done defending marriage and is looking for other ways to intervene, which includes looking at avenues to ask the Supreme Court to intervene in this Oregon case.
Governor John Kitzhaber released a statement, calling Monday a win for love, families and for freedom. He said:
“Nno longer will Oregonians tolerate discrimination against the gay, lesbian, and transgender community. Instead, the people of this state have come to understand that marriage equality affects our neighbors and our coworkers and the people next to us at the grocery store.
It affects loving families that are committed to one another.”
Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio also released a statement, saying:
“Today’s ruling makes me especially proud to be an Oregonian. As one of just 67 members of congress to vote against DOMA in 1996, I pointed out at the time that laws restricting marriage equality were unnecessary, discriminatory and possibly unconstitutional. With today’s ruling, Oregon can reaffirm a commitment to ensuring civil rights for all citizens, not just some.”