Thursday, April 14, 2005

Oregon Gone

Well, it's back to Massachusetts only marrying same-sex couples. Today the Oregon Supreme Court nullified over 3,000 marriages conducted last year in Multnomah County. You can read the full decision in HTML here.

The decision reversed a circuit one that supported the marriage because they led to the couples receiving the benefits of marriage previously denied them. In slicing and dicing, the state's highest court directed the circuit court to dismiss that action.

Since the marriages, the voters adopted Ballot Measure 36, a DoMA, state-constitution amendment that reads: "It is the policy of Oregon, and its political subdivisions, that only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or legally recognized as a marriage." Today's decision goes into some depth with reasoning by this has the effect of law.

The conclusion of the decision is:
In summary, we conclude as follows. First, since the effective date of Measure 36, marriage in Oregon has been limited under the Oregon Constitution to opposite-sex couples. Second, Oregon statutory law in existence before the effective date of Measure 36 also limited, and continues to limit, the right to obtain marriage licenses to opposite-sex couples. Third, marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples in Multnomah County before that date were issued without authority and were void at the time that they were issued, and we therefore need not consider the independent effect, if any, of Measure 36 on those marriage licenses. In short, none of plaintiffs' claims properly before the court is well taken. Finally, the abstract question whether ORS chapter 106 confers marriage benefits in violation of Article I, section 20, of the Oregon Constitution is not properly before the court.
So, 6,000 people were married and are suddenly not.

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