On April 20th, a state judge today struck down an Oregon law that blocked
same-sex couples from marrying and ordered the state to recognize the
3,000 marriages of same-sex couples that have already taken place in
Oregon. Multnomah County Circuit Judge Frank Bearden also issued a
90-day stay on marriages of same-sex couples until the Legislature could
decide how to treat the couples in the future – by extending marriage or
adopting a system like Vermont's civil unions.
"Judge Bearden recognized that Oregon can't differentiate between
opposite-sex and same-sex couples when doling out the rights of
marriage," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. "To do otherwise would be
The decision came in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties
Union on behalf of nine same-sex couples and Basic Rights Oregon. The
case is expected to be appealed.
"This is a truly historic day for all of the lesbian and gay people of
Oregon, but especially for the 3,000 couples who have already married
here," said Roey Thorpe, executive director of Basic Rights Oregon.
"While you already know in your hearts that you are married, an Oregon
court has just taken a giant step toward making sure the state treats
your marriage just like all other marriages."
"We hope the appeals court recognizes that marriages, and only
marriages, provide true equality for same-sex couples," added Jacques.
"Vermont's civil unions were a great step forward, but they provide only
a limited portion of rights. We are hopeful that Oregon will give
same-sex couples equal access to marriage – and all the rights it
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