Judge rules on Oregon’s Measure 36 Marriage Law

Judge Issues Opinion on Oregon’s Measure 36 Amendmentcourt
Oregon Faith News Note,

Ruling in a narrow personnel case, Judge Harry Pregerson of the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion ̶ not a ruling ̶ that Oregon’s Measure 36 constitutional ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The case involved an appeal by Alison Clark of the denial of benefits for her partner, Anna Campbell, under the Federal Employees Health Care Benefits program. Clark, a public defender in Portland, married Campbell in British Columbia on June 23, 2012. Upon their return to Oregon, they applied for health benefits and were denied under the Federal Defense of Marriage Act. DOMA defines marriage as between one man and one woman, as does Oregon’s Constitution.

Clark appealed the decision and received a favorable ruling from Pregerson. Laura Fosmire of the Statesman Journal asked Anna Joyce, Solicitor General with the state Department of Justice, if this would affect all federal employees in Oregon. “The order he issued is not a judicial opinion,” Joyce said. “It’s not an opinion of the Ninth Circuit; it’s a benefits order that’s applicable to this particular individual. It has no impact or ‘precedental’ value on same-sex couples in Oregon.”

Basic Rights Oregon has filed a ballot initiative with the Secretary of State’s office to repeal Measure 36 in 2014 and is currently gathering signatures. Voters in 31 states have approved constitutional amendments defining marriage as between a man and a woman; 11 states (Rhode Island, Delaware, Iowa, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Washington) and Wash., D.C. have approved same-sex marriage — with Delaware just approving it this month and Washington, Maine and Maryland approved by voters in the 2012 election cycle.

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