Judge's Ruling Clears The Way For Same-Sex Weddings In Oregon

May 19, 2014

Same-sex couples can now marry legally in Oregon. A federal judge today overturned the state's ban on gay marriage. Weddings began almost immediately.

Jammie Russell and Michelle Hatfield were one of the first same-sex couples to apply for a marriage license in Marion County.
Credit Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

County clerks in Oregon started issuing marriage licenses minutes after U.S. District Judge Michael McShane issued his opinion. Same-sex couples lined up outside marriage license offices in Portland and Eugene in anticipation of a ruling in their favor.

In Salem, Jammie Russell and Michelle Hatfield watched coverage of the ruling on TV then headed out to pick up a license. Russell says she never thought she'd have the chance to marry her partner of nearly two years.

"I feel like I'm a real American now,” Russell said. “A real, legal American. After all of these years, I have the same, not special rights, the same rights."

Oregon's attorney general had decided not to defend the state ban on gay marriage. That means there's no one who can appeal the ruling. A national group filed a last-minute request for a stay, but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals turned them down.

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