Lawyers for two Portland same-sex couples on Tuesday filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] in the US District Court for the District of Oregon [official website] challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage. The plaintiffs' claim is based on violations of due process and equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment. They claim that Article 15 Section 5a of the Oregon Constitution [text, PDF] denies plaintiffs their fundamental right to choose whom to marry and unduly restricts civil marriages to individuals of the opposite sex. The Ballot Measure 36 [text] that prevents the state from recognizing same-sex marriages was approved in 2004.
The heated debate regarding same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] is one of the most polarizing [JURIST op-ed] issues currently facing the US legal community. Earlier this week Buncombe County Register of Deeds [official website] Drew Reisinger began accepting [JURIST report] marriage license applications from same-sex couples and requested review of the decision from North Carolina's Attorney General [official website]. A 2012 amendment to North Carolina's Constitution currently bans same-sex marriage [JURIST report]. The Supreme Court of New Jersey [official website] last week agreed to hear an appeal by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie challenging a lower court ruling that same-sex couples must be allowed to marry [JURIST reports]. Last month Michigan's Treasury Department ruled [JURIST report] that same-sex spouses must file separate tax returns. Also last month a judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio expanded a lawsuit [JURIST report] seeking the recognition of same-sex spouses on death certificates.