Oregon Will Recognize Out-of-State Same-Sex Marriages
While advocates continue to gather signatures to put marriage equality on the Oregon ballot in 2014, a state official announced Wednesday that Oregon will begin recognizing legal same-sex marriages performed in other states.
The state's chief operating officer and director of administrative services, Michael Jordan, issued a memo on Wednesday directing all state agencies to recognize and extend benefits to any legally wed same-sex couples who were married in a jurisdiction that embraces marriage equality, reports BuzzFeed.
"Oregon agencies must recognize all out-of-state marriages for the purposes of administering state programs," Jordan wrote in the memo. "That includes legal, same-sex marriages performed in other states and countries."
The decision is the latest legal change following the June 26 Supreme Court ruling in U.S. v. Windsor, which struck down a key section of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act that prohibited the federal government from recognizing as legal any marriage not between one man and one woman.
Jordan's memo does not grant same-sex couples the right to marry in Oregon, but rather follows the Oregon Department of Justice's direction on the state-specific impact of June's landmark victories for equality at the Supreme Court.
While Wednesday's decision doesn't establish marriage equality in Oregon, on Tuesday, two same-sex couples filed a federal lawsuit hoping to overturn the anti–marriage equality law passed by voters in 2004. Robert Duehmig and William Griesar married in Canada in 2003 and have two teenage children, and want their home state of Oregon to recognize their marriage. The other two plaintiffs, Deanna Geiger and Janine Nelson, have been together for 31 years, reports The Oregonian. All four plaintiffs in the lawsuit, filed in federal district court in Eugene, Ore., live in Portland.