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Two Gay Couples File Suit Against Gay Marriage Ban In Oregon

Separate from Oregon United for Marriage's campaign to end Measure 36, a ban on gay marriage, two gay couples have filed a federal suit in an effort to get the ball rolling and see change come to the Beaver State more quickly. The couples involved include two women, Deanna Geiger and Jeanine Nelson (right), who would like to legally marry in the state, and two men, Robert Deuhmig and William Griesar, who would like their Canadian marriage recognized in their home state. The suit was filed in federal court because the attorneys involved, Lea Ann Easton and Lake Perriguey, believe that Measure 36 "violates the U.S. Constitution." 

Gaymarriagesuit.narWillamette Week reports:

"We would like a federal district judge in Oregon to find that there is no rational, legitimate or compelling governmental interest that would allow Oregon's anti-gay constitutional amendment to stand," Perriguey says. "It will not withstand constitutional scrutiny."

Geiger, 54, and Nelson, 53, tell WW they have been together for more than 31 years, and were among the first in line to obtain marriage licenses when same-sex marriage was briefly legalized in Multnomah County. They've faced discrimination their whole relationship, which began when they met working at a camp together.

The suit does, for now, overshadow the popular vote expected on the state's ballot in 2014, an issue which has been addressed by the attorneys involved, as well as by Oregon United for Marriage.

Oregon-Flag-US-State-Wood-XL"I believe that securing equal access to marriage in Oregon through a popularity contest or through a federal decision will advance marriage equality nationwide," Perriguey says. "There’s nothing guaranteeing a vote will come out in our favor, and there's no guarantee that a legal opinion will come out in our favor. But we're very optimistic."

Oregon United for Marriage says it's aware of the suit and staff has met with Perriguey and Easton about it.

"We share the same goal as the plaintiffs in this case, to make marriage legal for all loving and committed couples in Oregon," spokeswoman Amy Ruiz says. "No one should be denied the freedom to marry the person they love."

Two factions working to achieve an end goal of legally-recognized support for gay marriage: way to go Oregon! Several important public officials have been named as defendants on the suit as well, including Governor John Kitzhaber and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. With this caliber of support, we will cross our fingers for a successful suit, a successful campaign, and an end result of marriage equality. 

Couple photo courtesy of aliciajrosephotography.com.

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Comments

  1. 2013AD

    Posted by: TMI | Oct 16, 2013 7:46:36 PM


  2. Another state in which voters thought it would be acceptable to discriminate against some of its citizens now gets hauled into court so the taxpayers can fund the defense of such discrimination. Would it have not been simpler and less expensive for the taxpayer for the voters to have read the Constitution of the United States?

    Posted by: *****overTX | Oct 16, 2013 8:21:53 PM


  3. Another state in which voters thought it would be acceptable to discriminate against some of its citizens now gets hauled into court so the taxpayers can fund the defense of such discrimination. Would it have not been simpler and less expensive for the taxpayer or the voters to have read the Constitution of the United States?

    Posted by: *****overTX | Oct 16, 2013 8:23:23 PM


  4. I'm an Oregonian by choice. This is my state--my grouchy, prickly, iconoclastic, "don't tell us what to do!" state. As much as I would love to legally marry my partner here, the whole reason that discrimination got written into the state Constitution in 2004 is because voters felt that there'd been an "end run" around the will of the people when Multnomah County started handing out marriage licenses. Putting it on the ballot in 2004 and having it win decisively would end the discussion handily; for judges to get involved might actually hurt the cause somewhat, as it again falls into the Oregon "pet peeve" column of being dictated to. I appreciate what these couples are trying to do, but I think waiting to see what would've happened next November--barely a year from now--might have been a smarter strategy.

    Posted by: Dback | Oct 17, 2013 12:16:04 AM


  5. Well that is what you get for living in Oregon. Oregon is a test state on laws. Look what they done the Oregon people and Measure 11. It was intended for people that commit rape and now they use it make every person a felon. Oregon is state that does not what its people to have freedom of any kind. You have a gun you will become a felon. You are gay they will find a way to use it against you and make you a felon. My words for you is leave Oregon come to Washington have your freedom get married have a good life.

    Posted by: Troy Houghtaling Sr | Oct 17, 2013 2:28:42 AM


  6. DBACK, how do you think civil rights are achieved? Begging or singing Kumbaya seldom works. I realize you are trying to be pragmatic, but our rights should not be up to the will of the people in the first place.

    Posted by: TowsonMdGuy | Oct 17, 2013 6:07:30 AM


  7. I do not think my civil rights should be put to a popular vote. Stating Oregon will vote one way or another on an issue just because they "don't like being told what to do" is childish and smacks of tea party mentality.

    Marriage equality will come to Oregon next November if not sooner. In court the state has no defense at this point. My husband and I were married in New York and have a domestic partnership in Oregon, We have a joint mortgage with full rights of survivorship, we can file our taxes jointly in Oregon as well as federally now.

    There is no legitimate state interest to not grant us married status. All that is left in Oregon once you have a DP is the name marriage itself. Our marriage is recognized in the states north and south of us. Oregon will flip very soon.

    Posted by: dearcomrade | Oct 17, 2013 8:40:21 AM


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