Victories In Oregon, Utah For Same-Sex-Marriage Proponents
Julia Fraser (from left), Jessica Rohrbacher, Ken Brashier and Andrew Wallace await a ruling in the marriage equality case, so they can go into the building and get their marriage licenses. Steve Dykes /AP
This post was updated at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Federal judges in two states have ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, with a decision in Oregon overturning a ban on the practice and another in Utah ordering officials to recognize more than 1,000 marriages that had been thrown into legal limbo.
In Oregon, opponents of gay marriage had asked a superior court to stay the judge’s decision to give them a chance to argue their case against repealing the ban, but the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected their emergency motion earlier today.
If you remember, as in Virginia, Oregon’s Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum decided the state would not defend the ban in court, because she said it could not withstand a constitutional challenge.
U.S. District Judge Michael McShane wrote in his opinion that because the ban discriminates “on the basis of sexual orientation without a rational relationship to any legitimate government interest, the laws violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.”
The AP reports:
“Seventeen states and the District of Columbia allow gay marriage. Federal or state judges in Idaho, Oklahoma, Virginia, Michigan, Texas, Utah and Arkansas recently have found state same-sex-marriage bans to be unconstitutional. Judges also have ordered Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee to recognize same-sex marriages from other states.
“But opposition remains stiff in many places. Critics point out that most states still do not allow gay marriage and that in most that do, it was the work of courts or legislatures, not the people.”
The Oregonian reports that the plaintiffs in the case, as well as many couples across the state, were planning immediate weddings.
Meanwhile, in Utah, U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball told state officials that they must recognize hundreds of marriages that took place before the U.S. Supreme Court issued an emergency stay in January.
“These legal uncertainties and lost rights cause harm each day that the marriage is not recognized,” Kimball wrote.
According to the AP:
“The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit in January on behalf of four couples who said the state’s decision to freeze benefits for same-sex couples violated their rights. The couples cited concerns such as having a partner legally recognized as a child’s second parent.”
Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.