Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Whole West Coast

Oregon joins Washington and California to seal the West Coast for marriage equality.

Oregon cannot bar same-sex couples from marrying, a federal judge ruled Monday.

“Because Oregon’s marriage laws discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, the laws violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution,” U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane wrote.

The ruling from McShane is the 12th federal trial court ruling since last summer’s Supreme Court ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act to find a state ban on same-sex couples’ marriages and/or on recognition of such marriages to be unconstitutional.

Two federal appeals courts, those in Denver and Richmond, already have heard appeals of challenges from three states, Utah, Oklahoma, and Virginia.

Unlike most of the other challenges, however, none of the government officials in Oregon plan to appeal McShane’s ruling. In McShane’s order, issued moments after his opinion was released shortly after noon PT, he stated that the order stopping enforcement of the ban is effective immediately. Although Oregon law has a three-day waiting period for issuing marriage licenses, there are exceptions to that waiting period that mean couples could marry on Monday.

From Judge McShane’s ruling:

I believe that if we can look for a moment past gender and sexuality, we can see in these plaintiffs nothing more or less than our own families. Families who we would expect our Constitution to protect, if not exalt, in equal measure. With discernment we see not shadows lurking in closets or the stereotypes of what was once believed; rather, we see families committed to the common purpose of love, devotion, and service to the greater community.

What he said.

If you’re keeping score, that’s the thirteenth win in a row for marriage equality from the courts.  Not even the Tigers have a streak that good.  It also means that when the case finally gets to the Supreme Court, they’re going to have an overwhelming amount of evidence and rulings from a wide variety of courts, both state and federal, all supporting the precedent that banning same-sex marriage violates the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection.

Also, too:

A federal judge on Monday ordered Utah officials to recognize more than 1,000 same-sex marriages that took place in the state before the U.S. Supreme Court issued an emergency stay. If the rulings stands after a 21-day hold the judge placed on it, the state would be required to lift its freeze on benefits requested by gay couples.

And the hits just keep on coming.

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