PORTLAND, Ore. — The officials at Portland Oregon announced that they will continue to issue “marriage” licenses to homosexual couples, becoming the only remaining metropolis to publicly defy state law and ignore the advise of the state’s attorney general, March 15, 2004.
"Multnomah County will continue to issue marriage licenses to all couples, consistent with the Oregon Constitution, until such time as the Supreme Court of Oregon or the citizens of Oregon dictate another course of action," Multnomah County board of commissioners chair Diane M. Linn said in a statement.
Linn’s decision was in a sharp contrast to the recommendations of Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers, who on March 12 released an opinion saying that current state law "unquestionably" limits marriage to one man and one woman.
Even the Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongsoki encouraged the county to follow and abide by state law, during a March 12 news conference. To date, the Multnomah county issued some 2,000 licenses to same-sex couples.
"They should apply the existing law as the attorney general has recommended to us," Kulongoski said. "It is still the law of this state. There has been no Supreme Court decision that's definitive on this issue."
Current Oregon law reads: "Marriage is a civil contract entered into in person by males at least 17 years of age and females at least 17 years of age ..." Other parts of state law refer to a "husband" and "wife." However, Oregon remains as one of 12 states without an explicit restriction to marriage as a union between a man and a woman only.
Pro-family leaders in Oregon, mainly lead by the defense of marriage coalition, began a petition drive to put a state state constitutional marriage amendment to ban same-sex marriage on the ballot this fall. The petition needs 100,000 signatures by July. The group has launched a website: www.defenseofmarriagecoalition.org.
With a court halting San Francisco and New York from continuing their issuing “marriage” licenses, Multnomah County now remains as the only place that is continuing such “marriages.”