SALEM, Ore. — The state of Oregon will now recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who legally wed out of state, according to a report by the Willamette Week.
In a memo sent to state agencies on Wednesday, state Chief Operating Officer Michael Jordan said any same-sex couple who was legally married in one of the 13 states, or in the District of Columbia, where same-sex marriage is legal, will be eligible for the same benefits as any other married couple.
“Oregon agencies must recognize all out-of-state marriages for the purposes of administering state programs,” Jordan wrote. “That includes legal, same-sex marriages performed in other states and countries.”
Jordan made the decision based on a legal opinion from the Oregon Department of Justice.
Same-sex marriage is not currently legal in Oregon under a 2004 voter-approved constitutional ban, but Oregon United for Marriage, a broad coalition working to overturn the ban, hopes to put the issue back in front of voters in 2014.
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If approved, the ballot measure would repeal the state’s current constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, and grant same-sex couples the right to marry in Oregon.
The decision is unrelated to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Eugene, Ore., on behalf of two same-sex couples, seeking to have the existing ban declared unconstitutional.