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Same-Sex Marriages to Begin in Oregon

March 03, 2004|From Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. — The attorney for Multnomah County issued a legal opinion Tuesday that would allow marriage licenses for same-sex couples in Portland and elsewhere in the county, considered one of the most liberal in Oregon.

It wasn't clear whether details were still being worked out, and when marriage licenses for same-sex couples might be available.

TV stations reported licenses would be issued starting at 10 a.m. today, after a 9 a.m. news conference that was announced in a written statement.

That statement reads: "Based on a legal opinion released today by the county attorney, a majority of the board of county commissioners supports a policy change to allow the county to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples."

Roey Thorpe, executive director of Basic Rights Oregon, said the group had been working with county commissioners on a policy "in regard to issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples."

"I know a lot of people who are going to get licenses" today, she said.

"It's impossible to tell what the response will be; I would guess there will be hundreds of couples. Many of these couples have been waiting decades, and this is the first time they've been seen as equal under the law."

Multnomah County Judge Linda Bergman told KGW-TV that she would schedule and perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples if they had a license when they made an appointment.

Diane Linn, chairman of the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners, could not be reached for comment. Portland Mayor Vera Katz also did not respond to messages.

Sheriff Bernie Giusto said his office would provide security at the county administration building today.

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