Oregon first state in nation to fully recognize same-sex marriages

The newspaper article I read had me downcast, but finding out more about the ruling has cheered me up quite a bit. A comment from Basic Rights Oregon sets today’s ruling in a more positive perspective:

The ruling released today by the Multnomah County Court is historic. Judge Bearden ruled that there is no justifiable basis for discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender. The ruling also requires the State of Oregon to recognize the marriages between same-sex couples who have already gotten married in Multnomah County. Couples already married are the first couples in the country to be legally recognized by any state.

The Oregon state legislature will have 90 days from the day they reconvene to agree upon a remedy to the unconstitutional marriage law. During that time, Multnomah County is ordered to stop issuing licenses to same-sex couples. After 90 days, if a remedy has not been agreed upon, Multnomah County will be required to resume the issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Like many court decisions, this one is complex and contains both positive and negative components. We are overjoyed that Oregon’s discriminatory marriage law will not be allowed to stand. We are pleased that the State will recognize the marriages of thousands of Oregonians who were legally wed since. We are disappointed, however, that the decision requires that the county discriminate while the legislature takes up the issue.

The Oregon ACLU shares B.R.O.’s outlook.

So it’s better than I had initially thought. Basic Rights Oregon also provided a pdf link to the ruling, which I’m still going through.

UPDATE: Having read the ruling, it’s good but not great. It does say that Oregon can’t constitutionally deny same-sex couples the legal benefits of marriage; but it also endorses the “separate but equal” solution of having “civil unions” for same-sex couples providing full legal rights (on the state level, anyway) while only op-sex couples are permitted to get married. The judge didn’t address the question of if separate is really equal; he just hid behind the civil unions concept.

Exactly what the legal solution will be is up to the legislature, which will have ninety days starting from the next time they convene to come up with something. However, given the makeup of the Oregon legislature, we can depend on them to choose “civil unions” rather than real marriage equality. (Assuming they don’t find a legal way to avoid even giving gays civil unions, that is.)

The ruling also requires the state to record those Oregon same-sex marriage licenses which have already been solomized, so Oregon is the first in the nation on that. Yay us!

If the legislature doesn’t give same-sexers “equal legal rights” within ninety days of their next meeting, then Multnomah will resume issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, which (under the terms of this ruling) the state will have to recognize. So that’s a pretty big stick forcing the legislature to pay attention to this ruling.

Assuming this ruling isn’t stayed or overturned, of course; this is only the lowest court decision.

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4 Responses to Oregon first state in nation to fully recognize same-sex marriages

  1. 1
    Elkins says:

    The ruling also requires the state to record those Oregon same-sex marriage licenses which have already been solomized, so Oregon is the first in the nation on that. Yay us!

    Yay, indeed!

    But, uh, I think maybe you meant ‘solemnized,’ hon. As in, ‘made solemn?’

    See, on first glance, I misread your ‘solomized’ as ‘sodomized,’ and that took me to a very weird place.

    Sorry for the nit, but it did amuse me…

  2. 2
    Raznor says:

    Sodomizing gay marriage – now there’s an image for Santorum.

  3. 3
    Erika says:

    This may be a more technical legal question than anyone here is capable of answering, Amp, but what I’m wondering is this:

    The ruling apparently says that (a) the same-sex marriage licenses issued have to be recognized and (b) the state legislature must fix the law, but doesn’t have to fix it in a way that allows for full marriage equality.

    In the event that the legislature moves to create civil unions, what happens to those same-sex couples who have already been legally recognized as married? Do their marriage licenses get converted into civil union licenses? Will there be a small, but static and non-expandable class of married same-sex couples, while newly recognized same-sex relationships will have to be civil unions? If the former, would the same-sex couple who preivously had been enjoying marriage equality have a grounds for further suit?

    It just seems to me that those holdings are really contradictory and liable to create rather a few problems.

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