Same-sex Marriages Registered in Oregon but Await Supreme Court's Final Ruling

( [email protected] ) Jul 12, 2004 08:31 PM EDT

Oregon became the second state to register same-sex marriages Friday when a second court of appeals upheld a previous ruling forcing officials to register some 3,000 same-sex marriages conducted last spring in Multonmah County in Portland. However, the same-sex "marriage" licenses issued would not be valid until the Supreme Court rules on a lawsuit questioning their consitutional binding.

Attorney General Hardy Myers has reported that he would not appeal Friday's decision.

"Our primary goal is to get a final ruling from the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of Oregon's marriage statutes as expeditiously as possible," he said.

Although registered, the "licenses are not valid unless specifically declared valid by the Oregon Supreme Court," Myers cited the judge saying during the ruling.

The Multonmah County began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on March 3. On April 20, Multnomah County Circuit Judge Frank Bearden ordered county officials to stop issuing new marriage licenses to same-sex couples but ruled for the state to recognize the already married same-sex couples.

In November, voters in Oregon will receive a chance to decide on a consitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. The issue was placed on the ballot after The Defense of Marriage Coalition submitted well over twice the required number of signed petitions supporting the initiative.

Up to date, Massachusetts is the only state to allow same-sex marriages. Vermont recognizes civil unions while California, New Jersey and Hawaii have domestic partnership laws that provide certain legal rights to gay relationships.

The U.S. Senate has been debating on the Federal Marriage Amendment since Friday. A vote is expected on Wednesday.