Judge Strikes Down Oregon Gay Marriage Ban, And Here's Exactly What He Wrote (Grab A Tissue)


Yay! The U.S. got a little closer to marriage equality on Monday when a federal judge struck down Oregon's gay marriage ban, calling it unconstitutional and setting off a flurry of celebrations in the state. The ruling made Oregon the 18th state, plus DC, where gay marriage is legal. The change to the law would be put into effect almost immediately, meaning marriages will start at county clerk offices across Oregon today, the Associated Press reported.

Couples across Oregon were lining up at county clerk offices to say their wedding vows on Monday afternoon. Oregon's voters had approved a constitutional ban on gay marriage that went into effect in 2004, which was legally backed up by the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. But big parts of DOMA were struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court last June, and attorneys general across the country have stopped defending legal challenges to the law.

U.S. District Judge Michael McShane decided the laws were discriminatory, striking down the law and issuing an order calling the ban unenforceable in the state. In his opinion, he said the couples who challenged the ban in court were loving families with meaningful careers. But he noted that even if they weren't, it wouldn't matter.

McShane noted in his opinion that the legacy of moralizing gayness had impacted him, too. He mentioned his son calling a sweater he bought him for Christmas "so gay." The opinion is all the more poignant when you find out McShane is gay and raising his son with a same-sex partner.

Couples started lining up early for the chance to finally marry on Monday.

McShane, who is one of eight judges to have struck down similar bans in other states, though some are appealing. Oregon's attorney general didn't defend the law in the case and won't appeal the decision, according to the AP.

McShane put it most eloquently in his 26-page opinion on Monday: