by Karen Kulm, First Congregational UCC, Vancouver, WA
In December 2013, a federal judge struck down Utah’s constitutional ban on marriage for same-sex couples. 1,300 same-sex couples quickly married before the window of opportunity was closed by the Utah State Attorney General’s appeal to stay the order. A federal judge in Oklahoma made a similar ruling, but the ruling was stayed before any same-sex couples were allowed to marry.
What about Oregon? Oregon also has a constitutional amendment that excludes same-sex couples from marriage, as well as a lawsuit pending in federal court. The case is working its way through the legal system and may receive a favorable ruling from a federal judge similar to Utah and Oklahoma. Unlike those states, Oregon has a double challenge. Even if a court finds Oregon’s Measure 36 unconstitutional before November 4, the discriminatory language that excludes same-sex couples from marriage will still be in Oregon’s constitution—until Oregonians vote to remove it.