EUGENE, Ore. -- Same sex couples can be married in 17 states. Oregon isn't one of them.
However marriage equality groups around the state had a boost of support from Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum Thursday after she stated she could not defend the ban on marriage equality.
“We find ourselves unable to stand before Judge McShane to defend the states prohibition against marriage between two men and/or two women,” said Rosenblum.
Measure 36 was passed in 2004 and states that same sex marriages are not recognized in Oregon.
Eugene resident Timothy Smith has been with his partner, Kenton, for 23 years.
Although they would like to say "I do", they can't legally be married in the state of Oregon.
“It's frustrating not to be able to be able to marry the person I love on the same basis that everyone else can,” said Smith.
Two same sex couples in Eugene are a part of a federal trial over the issue. Jennifer Middleton is an attorney representing one of the couples, and says Rosenblum’s words are a step forward for gay couples.
“Her legal opinion (that) the ban on marriage for same sex couples violates the federal constitution and can't be defended and so that's the information the judge will have in front of him when he makes his decision,” said Middleton.
Not everyone supports Rosenblum’s stance.
The Oregon Family Council says AG Ellen Rosenblum refuses to do her job and defend the Oregon constitution. The group goes on to say she was not elected to pick and choose what laws she would defend.
Smith said even if Judge McShane does not rule in the same sex couples' favor, he's hopeful that voters will come November.
Arguments on the marriage equality case start April 23, the couples' attorney says it could take about thirty days before Judge McShane has a decision.