Cheers erupted minutes after noon Monday outside the Multnomah County Courthouse, as word spread that Oregon's ban on same sex marriage was overturned. Couples, who had waited in line since the wee hours, began receiving their marriage licenses from county workers who had prepared for this moment for days.
By coincidence, the first openly gay Episcopal Church bishop, Gene Robinson, was in Portland Monday - here to speak on the subjects of justice, equality and love at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Northwest Portland. Little did he know the event, scheduled weeks ago, would be galvanized - even trumped - by U.S. District Judge Michael McShane's landmark ruling: Oregon's ban on same sex marriage, which Oregon voters inserted into their state constitution in 2004, violated the U.S. Constitution.
Photo: Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
Trinity, surprised by the turn of events, moved the bishop's address to the Melody Ballroom - site of a huge celebration by the gay and lesbian community and their supporters in the fight for marriage equality.
It was a "magnificent moment," Bishop Robinson told KGW's Reggie Aqui, "Gay couples want what every couple wants: stability and family."
Oregon now becomes one of 18 states, in addition to the District of Columbia, where same-sex marriage is legal.
"Freedom means freedom for everyone," declared Oregon United For Marriage, a leading advocacy group for marriage equality.
Photo: Oregon United For Marriage
Meanwhile, Jeana Frazzini, Basic Rights Oregon Executive Director, was not certain Monday whether a ballot initiative intended to bring the issue before voters would go ahead. "Right now, we are just focused on this moment, celebrating Judge McShane's decision," Frazzini told OPB Think Out Loud host Dave Miller.