Friday, April 15, 2005

What Next in Salem?

Following the Oregon Supreme Court decision nullifying same-sex marriage licenses issued last year, everyone from the governor on down seems unsure about the next step. The Oregonian has a recap of the issues and steps.

The key points seem to be:
  1. Like numerous states, Oregon forbids discrimination. So the legal foundation is there for at the least civil unions.
  2. Yesterday's decision avoided the broader, constitutional conflicts between the old marriage wording and the discrimination laws.
  3. Because the court decided on narrow, procedural issues rather than the Massachusetts decision on the underlying ones, other suits can still bring the big issues up.
  4. The governor wants civil unions, but the legislators are nervous and pretend that other big topics will keep them from even debating that.
For the short term at least, both pro and anti same-sex marriage forces intend to lobby the legislature. A few groups have promised more legal actions to force rulings on the constitutional issues.

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