US: Same-sex couple finally wed in Oregon after 31 years together, following court ruling

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Deanna Geiger and Janine Nelson have become the first same-sex couple to marry in Oregon, after 31 years together.

According to Oregon Live, the Portland couple became the first couple to marry in the state, after judge Michael McShane declared at noon that the state’s same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional.

The couple exchanged their vows in the lobby of Multnomah County building moments after the ruling, in front of a crowd of onlookers.

Officials in Multnomah, Oregon’s largest county, had announced in advance that they would begin issuing marriage licenses immediately, with couples queuing outside courthouses since early this morning.

Exchanging rings with her partner, Geiger said: “I give you this ring as a token of my commitment and love.”

Bill Griesar, who was officiating the ceremony, announced: “It is now with great pleasure that I pronounce you spouses for life.”

The crowd loudly cheered the pair as their marriage was finally recognised, and they exited to confetti and rose petals.

The judge wrote in his decision: “Because Oregon’s marriage laws discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation without a rational relationship to any legitimate government interest, the laws violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

Judge Michael McShane was forced to play devil’s advocate and suggest arguments in defence of the ban last month, after Oregon’s Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum declined to defend it, instead joining the prosecution in urging for it to be struck down.

The anti-gay group National Organisation for Marriage filed a last-ditch effort to defend the state’s marriage ban days before the trial began, but their request was thrown out, as they could not find anyone with standing to back their intervention.

Earlier today, an appeals court rejected NOM’s attempt for an emergency stay on the decision while they further press their case.

Including Oregon, same-sex marriage is now legal in 18 states and the District of Columbia.