A federal judge in Oregon struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage Monday, making for the 13th straight win for gay nuptials in the federal courts since the U.S. Supreme Court decision against the Defense of Marriage Act.
U.S. District Judge Michael McShane ruled in the consolidated case of Rummell v. Kitzhaber and Geiger v. Kitzhaber that Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage violates equal protection rights under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The ruling was somewhat expected as no one from the state stood to defend the law. In February the state Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced the law was, in her opinion, unconstitutional. The governor of the state also announced that he supported marriage equality and did not wish to hire outside lawyers to defend it.
A recent Public Policy poll showed that 54 percent of Oregon residents would vote to legalize same-sex marriage at the ballot.
McShane’s ruling means 13 federal courts have ruled in favor of marriage equality since the Supreme Court’s decision against DOMA in addition to state courts in New Jersey, New Mexico and Arkansas.
Supporters of same-sex marriage in Oregon began gathering hours before the ruling was released.
Officials in Oregon’s largest county, Multnomah, said they will begin issuing marriage licenses immediately. There is usually a three-day waiting period for the licenses, but the county has offered to waive the waiting period on Monday, for a $5 fee.
Judge McShane’s ruling specified it was effective immediately.
Several pastors are at the courthouse, ready to marry couples who obtain a marriage license today.
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