Gay Marriage | News | Oregon

Oregon to Recognize All Same-Sex Marriages Performed Elsewhere, Effective Immediately

The state of Oregon is now recognizing all same-sex marriages performed out-of-state, Willamette Week reports:

JordanIn a memo sent to all state agencies today, state Chief Operating Officer Michael Jordan (pictured) says any gay couple who wed in a state where same-sex marriage is legal will now be eligible for the same benefits as any other married couple.

"Oregon agencies must recognize all out-of-state marriages for the purposes of administering state programs," Jordan writes. "That includes legal, same sex marriages performed in other states and countries."

Jordan made the decision based on a legal opinion from the Oregon Department of Justice.

"The opinion says that for years, Oregon has had a history of recognizing valid marriages that were performed in other states," says Department of Administrative Services spokesman Matt Shelby tells WW.

Yesterday, two gay couples filed suit in Oregon demanding the freedom to marry in the state. There is also a ballot measure coming in 2014 from Oregon United for Marriage which would do away with the state's same-sex marriage ban.

Flag_oregonThe text of Jordan's memo, below:

In light of recent United States Supreme Court decisions on same-sex marriage, the Department of Justice reviewed the potential impact of those decisions on Oregon state agencies. The DOJ opinion is attached, but in short, Oregon agencies must recognize all out-of-state marriages for the purposes of administering state programs. That includes legal, same sex marriages performed in other states and countries.

The DOJ opinion discusses the difference between Oregon’s definition of marriage – as between one man and one woman – and the state’s practice of recognizing marriages performed in other states. It describes how Oregon courts have consistently recognized valid out-of-state marriages, even when the marriage could not be performed in Oregon – such as common-law marriages. Although the Oregon constitution might be construed to prohibit recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages, DOJ concludes that such a construction would violate the federal constitution.

This DOJ opinion does not answer the question regarding a same sex couple’s ability to legally wed in Oregon. However, it makes a clear case for all legal marriages performed in other states and countries to be recognized in Oregon. Please keep this in mind as you administer the many programs Oregonians count on each day.

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  1. More wonderful news and another step toward the direction of full Marriage Equality in the USA.

    Posted by: NotSafeForWork | Oct 17, 2013 11:20:59 AM

  2. A journey of a thousand miles...

    Posted by: Clayton | Oct 17, 2013 11:58:01 AM

  3. Excellent! Along with the fact that marriage equality was officially challenged in Oregon district court as recently as yesterday and the grassroots efforts of Basic Right Oregon efforts to place it on the ballot as soon as 2014 this is indeed great news! It is no longer a question of whether but only of when . . .

    Posted by: Mike | Oct 17, 2013 12:10:06 PM

  4. The next states for full equality seem to be piling up now.... Oregon, New Jersey, Illinois, New Mexico, Hawaii....

    Posted by: anon | Oct 17, 2013 12:15:27 PM

  5. My Registered Domestic Partner and I live in Oregon, but dropped into California 2 weeks ago for a family reunion, so we got married there, in the town I was born in. I had been in touch with the Oregon Dept of Revenue, and they will be recognizing us as married as well now. Happy Days in Oregon! (thanks California)

    Posted by: Daniel O'Neil | Oct 17, 2013 12:20:41 PM

  6. Wonderful news, especially after what happened yesterday in Michigan. Many couples in Oregon have already married so this is big news for them. You read between the lines of the full argument Oregon's DOJ made and you can see they more or less view their marriage ban completely unconstitutional and especially so in regards to out-of-state marriages.

    Congrats to all the couples who benefit from this change!

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Oct 17, 2013 12:58:35 PM

  7. New York did the same thing just before same sex marriage was legalized here. We are going to win in Oregon.

    Posted by: KJPNYC | Oct 17, 2013 1:27:24 PM

  8. hooray! still more celebrations at Women and Women First!

    Posted by: woody | Oct 17, 2013 1:33:21 PM

  9. Come on up to Seattle, you guys! Get hitched here!

    Posted by: Seattle Mike | Oct 17, 2013 2:51:20 PM

  10. The company I work for in Oregon just changed my husbands health coverage on my policy to that of a straight employees spouse based on the SCOTUS ruling last summer. This will save us a few thousand dollars a year in taxes. Oregon already allows us to file jointly on our taxes as DP's.

    My company is even going the extra mile and reimbursing me for previous taxes taken out back to January of this year. Wonderful progress is being made in Oregon, but we still have a little farther to go.

    Posted by: dearcomrade | Oct 17, 2013 3:41:22 PM

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