Same-Sex Marriage Is Now Legal In Oregon- Judge Strikes Down ‘Measure 36’

BREAKING: Judge Strikes Down Oregon's 'Measure 36' Ensuring Immediate Marriage Equality In The State

With a ruling handed down earlier today, U.S. District Judge Michael McShane has overturned Oregon’s restriction on marriage limiting it to heterosexuals only.

With a ruling handed down earlier today, U.S. District Judge Michael McShane has found that Oregon’s Measure 36, meant to restrict marriage to heterosexuals only, was unconstitutional. With his ruling, same-sex marriages are to commence immediately in the state. Oregon has now become the 18th state in the Union to recognize marriage equality as a guaranteed civil right.

Joining states like California, Maryland, Vermont, New York, Minnesota and others (as well as the District of Columbia) Oregon has further broadened the number of citizens who no longer have to live as second class citizens within their own state. Before today’s ruling, it was estimated better than 38 percent of US citizens lived in a state that granted the freedom to marry or, at the very least, recognized marriages of same-sex couples that were performed out-of-state.

In recent months, stories have come out of states like Idaho, Virginia, Texas, Utah, Oklahoma and Michigan that judges had ruled against state laws and constitutional amendments that prohibited marriage equality. However, the states attorneys general have filed motions to appellate courts thereby placing a stay on the pro-marriage equality rulings.

Arkansas was also in the news recently and, much like the weekend of freedom in Utah, marriage certificates were handed out by county clerks until a motion to appeal was filed. If and when Arkansas, along with the above named states, is made to recognize marriage equality, the United States will have passed a significant threshold. A full 25 states (or 50 percent of the Union) will recognize equality for all.

The cases specific to today’s ruling were filed late last year with the District Court for the District of Oregon. Geiger v. Kitzhaber was a jointly filed case representing one couple who sought to marry in the state of Oregon and another who wanted their Canadian marriage recognized by the state. Another case, Rummell v. Kitzhaber, filed by the ACLU, represented three individual couples. Two were seeking the ability to marry within the state while the third couple, previously married in Oregon before Measure 36 invalidated there vows, sought redress of their grievance that a right granted could not then be taken away. All of the cases were consolidated earlier this year.

Prior to McShane’s ruling, he threw out an attempt made by the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage to intercede on behalf of three Oregonian citizens who would remain anonymous for the proceedings. His decision to reject their intervention was arrived at because he deemed that NOM had failed to adequately present a case as to why they should be allowed to intervene in the first place. NOM tried this tactic after Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced in February of this year that she would no longer work to uphold the state’s ban on marriage equality.

It seems as each day passes we are hearing new news on the marriage equality front. This state or that has had their laws banning same-sex marriage deemed unconstitutional. One thing is clear, with this ruling and others, and that is that marriage equality is benefiting from a thunderous momentum that would have been impossible to predict even a decade ago when most of these laws and constitutional amendments were placed on state ballots in the first place.