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MARRIAGE DIGEST: Ore. told to register ‘gay marriages’

SALEM, Ore. (BP)–Oregon began registering marriage licenses by same-sex couples July 9 after an appeals court ruled against the state in a homosexual “marriage” battle.

The win, though, may be only a temporary one for same-sex “marriage” supporters.

“The state will not be treating these as valid marriages,” Kevin Neely, a spokesman for the Oregon Department of Justice, told The Oregonian. “They will simply be registered marriages.”

In March and April the state’s most populous county, Multnomah County, defied state law by issuing more than 3,000 marriage licenses to same-sex couples. A state court judge subsequently ordered the county to stop issuing the licenses but nonetheless told the state to register the licenses already issued. The state appealed the latter part of the ruling but lost July 9 when the appeals court said the state must register the licenses.

Although the case appears headed to the Oregon Supreme Court, the issue could be decided in November when citizens likely will vote on a state constitutional marriage amendment. Pro-family groups in early July turned in more than twice the number of signatures needed to place the amendment on the ballot, although the secretary of state has yet to certify them.

Many observers within the state, including the state’s attorney general, believe the Oregon Supreme Court likely will issue a ruling legalizing same-sex “marriage.” A constitutional amendment, though, would prevent the court from issuing such a ruling. If the amendment does not pass, Oregon could become the second state to legalize same-sex “marriage.” Massachusetts was the first.

“We know the licenses are no more valid now than they were before,” Tim Nashif, political director for the Defense of Marriage Coalition, told The Oregonian. “The validity of the licenses is going to come down to the measure passing in November or some sort of a court decision.”

NOT IN N.M. — The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled against same-sex “marriage” July 8 when it denied a request by Sandoval County Clerk Victoria Dunlap to lift a temporary restraining order.

The restraining order prevents her from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples — something she did in February.

The Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona-based pro-family legal group, filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of the Family Research Council.

“The county clerk was asking the court to let her break the law,” ADF attorney Kevin Theriot said in a statement. “She simply had no authority to petition the court to have the restraining order lifted.”

The case is still on the district court level. Dunlap issued more than 60 marriage licenses to same-sex couples in February, only to stop when the state’s attorney general said the licenses were not legal. When Dunlap threatened again to hand out more licenses, a restraining order was issued.

PARTNERSHIPS IN N.J. — New Jersey’s domestic partnerships law went into effect July 10, giving same-sex couples in the state some of the benefits of marriage. The law also covers heterosexual couples age 62 and older who are not married.

“It kind of validates that we’ve been together 10 years and deserve the same rights as everyone else,” said Cathy Schenone, a lesbian, told the Associated Press.

But with Massachusetts offering marriage licenses to same-sex couples, New Jersey homosexual couples aren’t satisfied. According to the AP, many of them wore buttons reading, “The Next Step: Marriage Equality.”
For more information about the national debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit

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  • Michael Foust