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503-378-6002 or Kristina.Edmunson@doj.state.or.us
About Ellen F. Rosenblum
Statement from Attorney General Hardy Myers
Today the State of Oregon asked Judge Frank Bearden to postpone execution of the part of his judgment requiring the State Registrar to register same-sex marriage licenses issued by Multnomah County.
Judge Bearden held that the Oregon Constitution does not permit the State to deny the legal incidents of marriage to same-sex couples, but he did not extend to same-sex couples an immediate legal right to marry. Judge Bearden instead allowed the Legislative Assembly time to determine how to implement his decision. If the Registrar is required to register licenses, holders of those licenses may attempt to claim benefits based on the Registrar's action. Under the judge's decision, however, the Legislative Assembly is to have the first opportunity to determine how the legal incidents of marriage will be made available to same-sex and opposite-sex couples. Without a stay, some same-sex couples holding marriage licenses issued by Multnomah County may attempt to claim benefits that the Legislative Assembly may subsequently decide to modify as to all Oregonians or withhold from all Oregonians.
We understand that a stay of this portion of the judgment, if granted, will be disappointing to those same-sex couples who have looked forward to registration of their licenses by the State. But we believe that a stay is important to ensure that all same-sex couples in Oregon receive similar treatment under Oregon law until the important constitutional issue is finally resolved by the Oregon Supreme Court, and the legislature has had an opportunity to determine the course of action it wishes to take.
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