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Judge upholds
Oregon same-sex marriage ban

Judge upholds
Oregon same-sex marriage ban

A judge on Friday upheld a same-sex marriage ban adopted last year by Oregon voters, sweeping aside arguments by gay rights supporters that the measure was flawed. In his ruling, Marion County circuit judge Joseph Guimond rejected opponents' arguments that Measure 36 contained too many changes that should have been voted on as separate amendments. Critics also said it interfered with local governments' home rule rights. Friday's ruling was the latest setback for gay rights backers in Oregon, where more than 3,000 marriage licenses were granted to same-sex couples in Multnomah County in the spring of 2004 before a judge halted the practice. The constitutional ban on same-sex marriage was overwhelmingly approved by Oregon voters in the November 2004 election. Short of achieving full marriage rights, gay rights backers mounted an effort in the legislature earlier this year to pass a civil unions bill that would have extended most of the benefits and rights of marriage to same-sex couples, but the bill died in the Oregon house. Gay rights activists had hoped that a favorable ruling from Guimond would create new political momentum for efforts to extend benefits to same-sex couples. (AP)

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