Thursday, April 14, 2005

Oregon Rules Against Same-Sex Couples

The Supreme Court of Oregon has issued its opinion in Li v. Oregon. It ruled that same-sex marriage was banned in the state as a result of the ballot initiative approved by Oregon voters last election, and that the same-sex marriage licenses granted by Multnomah County prior to the election were beyond the scope of county's power and were also invalid.

This case is relatively narrow in effect, since Oregon passed an anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment and since, like in California, the entity which granted the marriage licenses wasn't really granted that authority under state law. One thing the Court expressly did not do was opine on whether the exclusive benefits of marriage--being available only to heterosexual couples--represented a violation of the Oregon constitution. That was the original ruling of the trial court, which the Supreme Court said was untimely. Hence, it still could be argued in future cases.

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