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Judge's Ruling Clears Way For Same-Sex Weddings In Oregon

Jammie Russell and Michelle Hatfield were one of the first same-sex couples to apply for a marriage license in Marion County.
Chris Lehman
/
Northwest News Network
Jammie Russell and Michelle Hatfield were one of the first same-sex couples to apply for a marriage license in Marion County.

Same-sex couples can now marry legally in Oregon after a federal judge Monday overturned the state's ban on gay marriage.

Jammie Russell and Michelle Hatfield were one of the first same-sex couples to apply for a marriage license in Marion County.
Credit Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network
/
Northwest News Network
Jammie Russell and Michelle Hatfield were one of the first same-sex couples to apply for a marriage license in Marion County.

Weddings began almost immediately. County clerks started issuing marriage licenses minutes after U.S. District Judge Michael McShane issued his opinion. Same-sex couples lined up outside marriage license offices in Portland and Eugene in anticipation of a ruling in their favor.

In Salem, Jammie Russell and Michelle Hatfield watched coverage of the ruling on TV then headed out to pick up a license. Russell said she never thought she'd have the chance to marry her partner of nearly two years.

"I feel like I'm a real American now. A real, legal American," said Russell. "After all of these years, I have the same, not special rights, the same rights."

Oregon's attorney general had decided not to defend the state ban on gay marriage. That means there's no one who can appeal the ruling. A national group filed a last-minute request for a stay, but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals turned them down.

Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman
Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.