Reaction pours in as Oregon gay marriage ban overturned

Many Democats cheer; Republican McLane urges 'reconcilliation'

PORTLAND, Ore. - A federal judge's ruling that overturns Oregon's voter-approved ban on gay marriage brought a flood of reaction, with Democrat supporters cheering the decision and a Powell Butte Republican lawmaker calling for a continued "process of reconciliation ... with respect for each other."

Here are numerous such statements, infull:

Governor Kitzhaber Releases Statement of Support for Marriage Equality for Oregonians

(Salem, OR) — Governor Kitzhaber today released the following statement in response to U.S. District Judge Michael McShane's ruling on same-sex marriage in Oregon:

"I strongly support Judge McShane's decision to overturn institutional discrimination in Oregon's constitution. No longer will Oregonians tolerate discrimination against the gay, lesbian, and transgender community.
Instead, the people of this state have come to understand that marriage equality affects our neighbors and our coworkers and the people next to us at the grocery store. It affects loving families that are committed to one another.
When we talk about marriage equality, we're talking about the rights we demand for every person in this state, whether it's equal opportunity for a good education, for affordable health care, for access to a good job and a more prosperous life. Now, finally, all Oregonians will have the opportunity to make a legal commitment to the person they love. Every person and every family in Oregon deserves that chance. Today is a win for love, for families, and for freedom."


Sen. Jeff Merkley:

It's an historic day for Oregon.  
Just a few minutes ago, a federal judge ruled that Oregon's ban on marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional -- clearing the way for marriages to begin this week!
In our personal lives, most of us share the aspiration to find someone we love and settle down to make a life together. To be able to share life's joys and trials.  To create a family together.  To be able to celebrate that love and declare publicly in front of friends and families our lifelong commitment to that person we love.
And now, in Oregon, this most basic freedom -- to marry the one you love -- is a reality for every Oregonian.
The arc of history is long, but it does indeed bend toward justice.


Wyden Applauds Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden issued the following statement in response to a U.S. District Court's decision to strike down Oregon's ban on gay marriage:

"Judge Michael McShane's decision marks a significant moment in Oregon's civil rights history, and it's an important step toward equal rights for all Americans. Every American deserves the freedom to marry the person they love, and, starting today, all Oregonians will have that choice. I am proud to have stood with Oregon's same-sex couples in this struggle for marriage equality for nearly 20 years, and it's important to keep pushing until that right extends to all Americans."

Wyden spoke in support of equal rights for gay couples during his first campaign for senate, and he was one of 14 senators who voted against DOMA in 1996. Wyden's floor speech from the 1996 debate over DOMA can be found here.


Statement From House Republican Leader Mike McLane on Same-Sex Marriage Court Decision

Salem, OR - House Republican Leader Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) today issued the following statement in response to today's federal court ruling regarding same-sex marriage:

"For those that believe marriage is a religious covenant, the origin of which predates America, today's federal court ruling won't change that.  For those that believe marriage is a legal union between two people that is recognized and enforced by our state government, today's ruling is a logical extension of the Supreme Court's ruling last summer.  Our society must embrace both views.  My hope is that the process of reconciliation in Oregon will continue as we move forward with respect for each other."



This is an historic day for our state. I am delighted that Judge Michael McShane struck down Oregon's ban on same-sex marriage, finding no legitimate state purpose justifies the preclusion of gay and lesbian couples from civil marriage. The U.S. District Court concluded, as I did in the position I took on behalf of the state defendants, that Oregon's constitutional ban is not defensible under the United States Constitution's Equal Protection Clause.

I did not take lightly my decision not to defend the Oregon constitution in this matter. That is why we presented the court with all of the arguments we were aware of that had been made in other jurisdictions. And that's why my office carefully explained in a lengthy brief and at oral argument why making those arguments in this case would have been at odds with our oath to defend the United States Constitution.

Today's decisive ruling shows that the U.S. District Court also considered these arguments and rejected them. The ruling affirms our state's commitment to equal protection under the law. It says, plainly and simply, that under the supreme law of the land, it is not okay to deny same-sex couples in Oregon the same right to marry that is given to opposite-sex couples.

As I said three months ago, marriage is the way loving couples become family to each other and to their extended families. As the court said, creating second-tier families does not advance the state's strong interest in promoting and protecting all families. I would like to personally congratulate and welcome the many families that will soon be recognized as a result of today's historic ruling.


Treasurer Wheeler statement: ‘Oregon is now on the right side of history'

Federal judge today cleared the way for same-sex marriage in Oregon

SALEM – State Treasurer Ted Wheeler released the following statement today after U.S. District Judge Michael McShane cleared the way for same-sex marriage in Oregon.

"Oregon is a better place because of today's ruling: Oregon is now on the right side of history."

"Marriage is about love, first and foremost. In addition, Oregon families will benefit because marriage plays a key role in improving financial security. Our quality of life – at every age -- improves when Oregonians are financially secure.


House Majority Leader Val Hoyle praises Oregon's marriage equality decision

House Majority Leader Val Hoyle released the following statement following Judge Michael McShane's ruling that Oregon's marriage ban is unconstitutional.

"I married the person who I love over 22 years ago, and I'm thrilled that all Oregonians now have the freedom to do the same. Still, it took decades of work to get us to today's victory. Congratulations to the tens of thousands of Oregonians who have fought for the freedom to marry, and to all of the loving, committed couples who can now get married here in Oregon."


Statement from House Speaker Tina Kotek on

Today's Marriage Equality Ruling

"Today's historic ruling means that all Oregonians will have the legal right to marry the person they love.  The ruling affirms that the public promise of love and lifetime commitment should be available to everyone.  This is the ruling our state deserves because Oregonians believe in equality and fairness.  Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make this happen.   After a ten year engagement, my partner Aimee and I are thrilled to join the many other Oregon couples getting married this year."


Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian statement on historic marriage ruling

PORTLAND—Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian today praised U.S. District Judge Michael McShane's historic ruling overturning Oregon's ban on same-sex marriage:

 "Today's ruling represents an important moment in our state's history and affirms that all caring, committed couples deserve equal treatment under law. The victory is also a testament to the energy and hard work of the tens of thousands of Oregonians who've dedicated themselves to making our laws match our highest ideals. It expands personal freedom so that more Oregonians can marry and build lives together."

As labor commissioner, Brad Avakian works to ensure that all Oregonians are treated fairly, including enforcement of the landmark Oregon Equality Act of 2007, 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.

BOLI protects all Oregonians from unlawful discrimination, investigating allegations of civil rights violations in workplaces, career schools, housing and public accommodations, and enforces compliance with state laws relating to wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment.

The Oregon Council on Civil Rights joined Commissioner Avakian in praising today's ruling as a significant milestone for the rights and protections of all Oregonians:

"This win for marriage equality is an important step toward fulfilling the promise of full civil rights to people in our state. The Oregon Council for Civil Rights celebrates this victory with all who worked to achieve it and for all whose social and economic future are more secure because of it."

Businesses seeking guidance on civil rights protections may contact the bureau's Technical Assistance for Employers program at (971) 673-0824.


Oregon United for Marriage news release:

Federal judge strikes down Oregon ban on marriage for same-sex couples

Today, U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane ruled that Oregon's exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage is unconstitutional—paving the way for couples to begin marrying immediately.

The lawsuit alleged that Oregon's constitutional ban on marriage for lesbian and gay couples—Measure 36—violates the U.S. Constitution.

The consolidated case—Geiger v. Kitzhaber, filed on October 13, 2013, and Rummell v. Kitzhaber, filed on December 19, 2013—was argued on April 23, 2014. Attorneys Lake Perriguey (Law Works, LLC) and Lea Ann Easton (Dorsay & Easton, LLP), argued on behalf of plaintiff couples Deanna Geiger and Janine Nelson, and Robert Duehmig and William Griesar. Attorneys Rose Saxe and Amanda Goad (American Civil Liberties Union), Kevin Diaz (ACLU of Oregon), and volunteer counsel Misha Isaak and Tom Johnson (Perkins Coie, LLP), and Jennifer Middleton (Johnson, Johnson & Schaller, PC), argued on behalf of two additional couples—Paul Rummell and Ben West, and Chris Tanner and Lisa Chickadonz—and Basic Rights Education Fund.

"The importance of Judge McShane's decision cannot be overemphasized," said David Fidanque, executive director of the ACLU of Oregon. "Our federal Constitution does not allow any state – or its voters – to deny same sex couples equal protection under the law simply because of who they are and who they love. This type of discrimination is wrong and it's also unconstitutional."

"Our clients Deanna Geiger & Janine Nelson and Bob Duehig and Bill Griesar are grateful the Attorney General, Governor, Ms. Woodward and Mr. Walruff carefully considered their position and so clearly articulated Oregon's position that it values our relationships and commitments to each other and our families," said Lee Ann Easton, an attorney at Dorsay & Easton who, with co-counsel Lake Periguey, filed the Geiger case. "They are very pleased the District Court adopted their position along with the Rummell plaintiffs  in his decision.    With this advancement of civil rights, gay and lesbian Oregonians are now equal under the law."

"After years of working in every way possible way to bring the freedom to marry to Oregon, today is a historic day," said Vanessa Usui, board chair of Basic Rights Education Fund. "Starting with a ballot measure, and ultimately with this court victory, we have finally ensured that all loving, committed same-sex couples are free to marry in Oregon."

"Today's ruling acknowledges that Oregon same-sex couples are entitled to equal dignity under our Constitution," said Misha Isaak, who argued on behalf of the Rummell plaintiffs at the April 23 hearing and serves on Basic Rights Oregon's legal advisory group. "We are parents, siblings, neighbors, coworkers, and friends, just like our fellow Oregonians, and we have the same constitutional rights as our fellow Oregonians. Our loving, committed relationships are worthy of the state's equal recognition. Finally, they will get it."

"Today Oregon joins the increasing number of states in embracing the freedom to marry for all," said Rose Saxe, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. "This decision brings us one step closer to ensuring that all loving and committed couples will be able to take care of each other and their loved ones with the protections and dignity that only come through marriage."

The anti-marriage equality group National Organization for Marriage (NOM) attempted to intervene in the case just before the April 23 hearing. On May 14, Judge McShane denied their motion. NOM filed an appeal in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on May 19, and also requested an emergency stay of Judge McShane's ruling. The request for a stay was denied, but the appeal is still pending.


Statement from Democratic Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum on today's Marriage Equality ruling

SALEM—  Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum (D-Portland) released the following comments this afternoon following the court decision by U.S. District Judge Michael McShane striking down Oregon's prohibition on same-sex marriage:

"Today marks a monumental step toward greater equality for Oregon. No longer will committed couples be denied the freedom to marry their loved one and receive all of the benefits of a recognized marriage. Like many Oregonians, today I am celebrating the end of an era of discrimination and the beginning of a brighter and more equal future for all Oregonians. Monday May 19th is one of the brightest days in Oregon's history – this day is about love and justice for all Oregonians."

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