'No legitimate state purpose justifies the preclusion of gay and lesbian couples from civil marriage'

'No legitimate state purpose justifies the preclusion of gay and lesbian couples from civil marriage'

EUGENE, Ore. - A federal judge in Eugene struck down Oregon's decade-old voter-approved measure limiting marriage to one man and one woman.

"The state's marriage laws unjustifiably treat same-gender couples differently than
opposite-gender couples," Judge Michael McShane wrote in his decision. "The laws assess a couple's fitness for civil marriage based on their sexual orientation: opposite-gender couples pass; same-gender couples do not. No legitimate state purpose justifies the preclusion of gay and lesbian couples from civil marriage."

Couples, families and advocates gathered in Eugene and elsewhere across the state in anticipation of the ruling.

The ruling takes effect immediately, allowing same-sex couples to seek marriage licenses immediately.

Under direction from the Oregon Vital Records Department, the Lane County Clerk's Office said it would begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples at 1 p.m. Monday.

The Clerk's Office will also officiate for same-sex couples wishing to marry.