BREAKING: Judge Overturns Oregon Marriage Equality Ban

Written by scott on May 19th, 2014

Oregon Marriage Equality

Update 12:27 PM From Oregon United for Marriage:

The ruling will go into effect immediately, and marriage licenses will soon be available in counties across the state. Already, Multnomah County is issuing licenses to same-sex couples.


It’s official – Federal Judge Michael McShane has just overturned the constitutional ban on Oregon Marriage Equality.

Oregon United for Marriage reports:

Judge Michael McShane has ruled that Oregon’s marriage ban is unconstitutional! Stay tuned for more updates.

The Washington Blade elaborates:

A federal judge in Oregon struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage Monday, making for the 13th straight win for gay nuptials in the federal courts since the U.S. Supreme Court decision against the Defense of Marriage Act. In a 26-page decision, U.S. District Judge Michael McShane ruled in the consolidated case of Rummell v. Kitzhaber and Geiger v. Kitzhaber that Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage violates rights under the U.S. Constitution. “Because Oregon’s marriage laws discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation without a rational relationship to any legitimate government interest, the laws violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” McShane writes.

In related news, the ninth circuit has denied NOM’s request to intervene in the case.


Oregon United for Marriage just released this statement:

Today, U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane ruled that Oregon’s exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage is unconstitutional–paving the way for couples to begin marrying immediately.

The lawsuit alleged that Oregon’s constitutional ban on marriage for lesbian and gay couples–Measure 36–violates the U.S. Constitution.

The consolidated case–Geiger v. Kitzhaber, filed on October 13, 2013, and Rummell v. Kitzhaber, filed on December 19, 2013–was argued on April 23, 2014. Attorneys Lake Perriguey (Law Works, LLC) and Lea Ann Easton (Dorsay & Easton, LLP), argued on behalf of plaintiff couples Deanna Geiger and Janine Nelson, and Robert Duehmig and William Griesar. Attorneys Rose Saxe and Amanda Goad (American Civil Liberties Union), Kevin Diaz (ACLU of Oregon), and volunteer counsel Misha Isaak and Tom Johnson (Perkins Coie, LLP), and Jennifer Middleton (Johnson, Johnson & Schaller, PC), argued on behalf of two additional couples–Paul Rummell and Ben West, and Chris Tanner and Lisa Chickadonz–and Basic Rights Education Fund.

“The importance of Judge McShane’s decision cannot be overemphasized,” said David Fidanque, executive director of the ACLU of Oregon. “Our federal Constitution does not allow any state – or its voters – to deny same sex couples equal protection under the law simply because of who they are and who they love. This type of discrimination is wrong and it’s also unconstitutional.”

“Our clients Deanna Geiger & Janine Nelson and Bob Duehig and Bill Griesar are grateful the Attorney General, Governor, Ms. Woodward and Mr. Walruff carefully considered their position and so clearly articulated Oregon’s position that it values our relationships and commitments to each other and our families,” said Lee Ann Easton, an attorney at Dorsay & Easton who, with co-counsel Lake Periguey, filed the Geiger case. “They are very pleased the District Court adopted their position along with the Rummell plaintiffs in his decision. With this advancement of civil rights, gay and lesbian Oregonians are now equal under the law.”

“After years of working in every way possible way to bring the freedom to marry to Oregon, today is a historic day,” said Vanessa Usui, board chair of Basic Rights Education Fund. “Starting with a ballot measure, and ultimately with this court victory, we have finally ensured that all loving, committed same-sex couples are free to marry in Oregon.”

“Today’s ruling acknowledges that Oregon same-sex couples are entitled to equal dignity under our Constitution,” said Misha Isaak, who argued on behalf of the Rummell plaintiffs at the April 23 hearing and serves on Basic Rights Oregon’s legal advisory group. “We are parents, siblings, neighbors, coworkers, and friends, just like our fellow Oregonians, and we have the same constitutional rights as our fellow Oregonians. Our loving, committed relationships are worthy of the state’s equal recognition. Finally, they will get it.”

“Today Oregon joins the increasing number of states in embracing the freedom to marry for all,” said Rose Saxe, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. “This decision brings us one step closer to ensuring that all loving and committed couples will be able to take care of each other and their loved ones with the protections and dignity that only come through marriage.”

The anti-marriage equality group National Organization for Marriage (NOM) attempted to intervene in the case just before the April 23 hearing. On May 14, Judge McShane denied their motion. NOM filed an appeal in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on May 19, and also requested an emergency stay of Judge McShane’s ruling. The request for a stay was denied, but the appeal is still pending.


Oregon has already indicated it won’t appeal. Gay and lesbian couples may begin to marry as soon as this afternoon in the state – now the entire West Coast has full marriage equality.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Oregon.


1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Lucinda says:

    Hooray!! We are so thrilled that marriage equality has come to OR!!!

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