Rush to the altar
Some states ease into same-sex marriage. Oregon isn't one of them. U.S. District Judge Michael McShane struck down the state's gay marriage ban at about noon on Monday, and the news spread to the crowd gathered outside at 12:08. It took only another minute for Multnomah County officials to let waiting same-sex couples inside to get their marriage licenses. "Within an hour, 23 couples had bought a marriage license, and the first ceremonies were wrapped up," says Kirk Johnson at The New York Times.
Unlike in Idaho, where a federal judge struck down a gay marriage ban and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the ruling, there were no parties with standing who opposed the Oregon ban — the state attorney general said it was unconstitutional and refused to defend it. So Oregon officials were ready when the ban fell. Portland Mayor Charlie Hales even got in on the act even though his office doesn't give him the right to officiate weddings. As he explained to The Oregonian, he just did what everyone else does and obtained a license online from the Universal Life Church. --Peter Weber