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Federal Judge Strikes Down Gay Marriage Ban In Oregon

A federal judge in Oregon has ruled the state's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.

Opponents of gay marriage had asked a superior court to stay the judge's decision to give them a chance to argue their case against repealing the ban, but the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected their emergency motion earlier today.

If you remember, like Virginia, Oregon's Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum decided the state would not defend the ban in court, because she said it could not withstand a constitutional challenge.

U.S. District Judge Michael McShane wrote in his opinion that because the ban discriminates "on the basis of sexual orientation without a rational relationship to any legitimate government interest, the laws violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution."

The AP reports:

"Seventeen states and the District of Columbia allow gay marriage. Federal or state judges in Idaho, Oklahoma, Virginia, Michigan, Texas, Utah and Arkansas recently have found state same-sex marriage bans to be unconstitutional. Judges also have ordered Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee to recognize same-sex marriages from other states."But opposition remains stiff in many places. Critics point out that most states still do not allow gay marriage and that in most that do, it was the work of courts or legislatures, not the people."

The Oregonian reports that the plaintiffs in the case, as well as many couples across the state, were planning immediate weddings.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/

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