Federal judge in Oregon strikes down ban on marriage for same-sex couples

Today Judge Michael McShane struck down Oregon’s discriminatory state constitutional amendment that denies committed gay couples the freedom to marry, ruling that it violates the U.S. Constitution. The ruling is the 17th consecutive victory in state and federal court for the freedom to marry since the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Windsor v. United States in June 2013. The ruling is the 13th win in federal court for marriage since June.

The order is effective immediately - meaning that today, same-sex couples across the state will be able to marry!

Judge McShane wrote in the ruling:

My decision will not be the final word on this subject, but on this issue of marriage I am struck more by our similarities than our differences. I believe that if we can look for a moment past gender and sexuality, we can see in these plaintiffs nothing more or less than our ownfamilies. Families who we would expect our Constitution to protect, if not exalt, in equal measure.

With discernment we see not shadows lurking in closets or the stereotypes of what was once believed; rather, we see families committed to the common purpose of love, devotion, and service to the greater community.

Where will this all lead? I know that many suggest we are going down a slippery slope that will have no moral boundaries. To those who truly harbor such fears, I can only say this: Let us look less to the sky to see what might fall; rather, let us look to each other ... and rise.

 Read the full ruling here.

The decision follows a last-minute attempt by the anti-gay group National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to intervene in Oregon’s marriage case, a motion denied by Judge McShane. The organization's motion for a stay in the proceedings was also denied by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit today. 

Thalia Zepatos, director of public engagement at Freedom to Marry and a key adviser to Oregon United for Marriage, the coalition that has worked so hard to win marriage for same-sex couples, released the following statement:

Today Judge McShane did the right thing for families, affirming that the denial of marriage to committed same-sex couples in Oregon is unconstitutional. In recognition of the strong support for marriage among Oregonians, no one with legal standing, including our state Attorney General, wanted to go down in history as defending discrimination.

Across the country, the courts agree: same-sex couples and their families need the protections of marriage, and anti-marriage laws are indefensible. With over 70 marriage cases now making their way through the courts, today's decision in Oregon underscores that all of America is ready for the freedom to marry.

Freedom to Marry is a founding and leading partner in Oregon United for Marriage and celebrates this momentous day in the Beaver State! Learn all about marriage in Oregon - including how to get a marriage license beginning TODAY - at Oregon United for Marriage. 

Judges have struck down marriage bans now in 7 states in the past few months: Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Idaho, and now Oregon. More limited decisions in favor of the freedom to marry have been handed down in Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, and Ohio.

More than 70 cases are currently pending in state and federal court in more than 30 states and territories across the United States. 

Read more about marriage litigation HERE.