Gay Couples Marry Within Hour of Oregon's Decision

Dozens wed; state attorney general refuses to appeal
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2014 8:32 AM CDT
Gay Couples Marry Within Hour of Oregon's Decision
Julia Fraser hugs a family member after getting married as Jessica Rohrbacher, right, walks behind after get married at the Melody Ballroom in Portland, Ore., May 19, 2014.   (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

It was pretty easy to predict that US District Judge Michael McShane was going to overturn Oregon's gay marriage ban yesterday. So easy that gay couples were lined up for licenses beforehand, refreshing their smartphones as they awaited the news, the Oregonian reports. Oregon's attorney general had refused to defend the law, leaving McShane—who is openly gay—to defend it himself. He didn't convince himself. Instead, he issued what the Washington Post calls an "unusually personal" ruling.

  • "If we can look for a moment past gender and sexuality, we can see in these plaintiffs nothing more or less than our own families," he wrote. "Let us look less to the sky to see what might fall; rather, let us look to each other … and rise."
In Portland, more than 70 marriage licenses were issued following the ruling, the AP reports, with the first marriages taking place within the hour. It's the 17th straight victory for same-sex marriage since the Supreme Court's DOMA decision. And while many of those rulings are stayed awaiting appeal, this one isn't—and, indeed, an appeal might not be possible, Slate observes, because the state's liberal governor is unlikely to defend the ban, and the Supreme Court has ruled that outside groups can't intervene. Even if an appeal were somehow lodged, Oregon voters are almost sure to vote in gay marriage in November anyway. The decision makes Oregon the 18th state to recognize gay marriage. (More Oregon stories.)

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