April 21, 2004

Oregon same-sex marriages legal, says judge.

In a ruling that takes away with one hand and gives with the other, an Oregon judge has ordered Multnomah County to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples until the statelegislature has a chance to pass a new marriage law. But the ruling by Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Frank Bearden also orders the state of Oregon to recognize the 3,000 marriage licenses already issued.

The halt in Multnomah County is not permanent, however. Bearden's ruling also requires the Oregon legislature to enact a new marriage or civil union law within 90 days from the beginning of its next session. If that deadline isn't met, the order halting same-sex marriages in Multnomah County expires, and the county can resume marrying lesbian and gay couples. Since the next legislative session is expected to start at the beginning of June, Oregon's drop-dead deadline for same-sex marriage will be some time around the end of August.

The decision by Multnomah County Circuit Judge Frank Bearden marked the first time in the nation that a judge has recognized gay marriage. An immediate appeal of the ruling was expected.

"These are the first legally recognized gay marriages in the country," said Dave Fidanque, the ACLU executive director in Oregon. "In no other same-sex marriages that have taken place has there been a court order saying the state must recognize them. That's what's truly historic about this opinion."

Via AP.

More: The ACLU of Oregon has posted the text of Bearden's decision here.

[Post revised per b!X's comment.]

Posted by Magpie at April 21, 2004 12:13 AM | GLBT | Technorati links |

The Legislature has 90 days from the start of their next session to craft an alternative, not 90 days from yesterday,

Posted by: The One True b!X at April 21, 2004 03:24 PM