A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

BREAKING NEWS ~ Oregon Supreme Court nullifies same-sex marriage licenses

[JURIST] AP is reporting that the Oregon Supreme Court [official website] has nullified 3,000 marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples last year. The decision reverses a court of appeals decision [JURIST report] upholding the licenses. Oregon voters approved [JURIST report] a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages in the state in the November 2004 election, but the marriage licenses at issue in the case were issued earlier in the year. Read the Court's opinion [text] in the case.

11:40 AM ET - In a unanimous opinion, the Court wrote:

[W]e conclude as follows. First, since the effective date of Measure 36, marriage in Oregon has been limited under the Oregon Constitution to opposite-sex couples. Second, Oregon statutory law in existence before the effective date of Measure 36 also limited, and continues to limit, the right to obtain marriage licenses to opposite-sex couples. Third, marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples in Multnomah County before that date were issued without authority and were void at the time that they were issued, and we therefore need not consider the independent effect, if any, of Measure 36 on those marriage licenses. In short, none of plaintiffs' claims properly before the court is well taken. Finally, the abstract question whether ORS chapter 106 confers marriage benefits in violation of Article I, section 20, of the Oregon Constitution is not properly before the court.
12:10 PM ET - An AP story is now available online. Also, Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski has said that he will push for legislation [AP report] that would permit civil unions in the state for same-sex couples.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.