Oregon’s same-sex marriage ban struck down by federal judge

A federal judge ends Oregon's ban on same-sex marriage, calling it unconstitutional. (x)

A federal judge ends Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage, calling it unconstitutional. (x)

Oregon’s voter approved ban on same-sex marriage was struck down by a federal judge, declaring it unconstitutional. According to U.S. District Judge Michael McShane, the ban discriminates against same-sex couples unconstitutionally. He has ordered the state not to enforce it any longer.

Oregon state officials claim to be prepared to marry same-sex couples almost immediately. Several couples lined up outside the county clerk’s office in Portland anticipating McShane’s outcome. A request by the National Organization for Marriage to defend the law on behalf of its Oregon members was denied. Same-sex marriages were allowed to proceed after a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday refused the group’s request for an emergency stay of that decision.

The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court last year. It prevented same-sex marriage from being recognized by the federal government. The law was found to improperly deprive same-sex couples of due process. State or federal judges in Idaho, Oklahoma, Virginia, Michigan, Texas, Utah, Arkansas, and Pennsylvania have also recently ended unconstitutional bans on same-sex marriage.

Oregon has a long history of banning same-sex marriage and voters added the ban to the state constitution in 2004. This came after a brief period where Multnomah County issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples. An estimated 3,000 couples married prior to a judge ending the practice. Shortly afterwards, the marriages were invalidated by the Oregon Supreme Court.

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