Ore. officials applaud same-sex marriage ruling

PORTLAND, Ore. - Oregon's governor, U.S. senators and labor commissioner praised the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday for its rulings on same-sex marriage on Wednesday.

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., released the following statement after the court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional.

"This Supreme Court decision that the federal government must recognize all marriages is a huge stride forward for equality and fairness," Merkley said. "No one should be denied equal rights because of whom they love, and discrimination has no place in our laws."

In a Twitter posting, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said: "I said no to #DOMA from day 1 & am glad to see SCOTUS say no today. Equal protection means protection for everyone. Plain & simple."

Gov. John Kitzhaber issued the following statement:

"The U.S. Supreme Court's decision is a proud moment for the nation. In Oregon, it underscores the urgency of extending the freedom to marry to all our citizens. Oregon has not yet lived up to the ideal of equal rights for all.

"When we talk about the freedom to marry, we're talking about the basic equality we demand for every person: a good education, affordable health care, access to upward mobility, and a more prosperous quality of life. For so many people, quality of life includes the equal opportunity to commit to the person they love. This kind of commitment strengthens our society and is good for our country."

Oregon Labor and Industries Commissioner Brad Avakian also praised the court's ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act and the opportunity it presents for Oregonians:

"Earlier this morning, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned DOMA, affirming that all caring, committed couples who marry deserve equal treatment under law," Avakian said.

"Our country is changing – and the decision today represents an important step in that larger journey of understanding. Oregonians are fundamentally fair; we treat others as we want to be treated ourselves. And with today's ruling, it's clear that as a state, we control our own destiny and now have the chance to have our laws match our highest ideals.

"That unfinished business is strengthened by conversations taking place in living rooms and coffee shops around the state as more Oregonians open their hearts to civil marriage for all loving, same-sex couples."

As labor commissioner, Brad Avakian works to ensure that all Oregonians are treated fairly, including enforcement of the landmark 2007 Oregon Equality Act, a law to protect the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender Oregonians in employment, housing and public places. As a legislator, Avakian championed the legislation and carried it on the Senate floor.

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