Hundreds gathered in downtown Portland on June 14, 2015 to celebrate Pride Northwest, an annual parade to promote gay and lesbian activism.

Hundreds gathered in downtown Portland on June 14, 2015 to celebrate Pride Northwest, an annual parade to promote gay and lesbian activism.

Alan Sylvestre / OPB

In a 5-4 decision today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Constitution grants same-sex couples the right to marry.

The decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, invalidates the marriage bans that remain in 14 states, and upholds the many recent rulings by federal court judges in favor of same sex marriage, including that of  U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane in Oregon and U.S. District Magistrate Judge Candy Dale in Idaho.

In a statement, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown voiced her approval of the ruling.

“Today, love wins. The United States Supreme Court extended the right to marry nationwide, giving couples and families the freedoms and recognition they deserve.”

The majority decision, authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, held that marriage is a fundamental liberty, “keystone of the nation’s social order,” protected by the due process clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

The majority also found that state’s bans on same-sex marriage violated the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.

“Especially against a long history of disapproval of their relationships, this denial works a grave and continuing harm, serving to disrespect and subordinate gays and lesbians,” Kennedy wrote.



Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-OR, celebrated the decision saying, “Today the Supreme Court stands on the right side of history, extending marriage rights to same-sex couples in all 50 states. Although the fight for equal rights for the LGBTQ community is far from over, today’s decision is a critical milestone in helping secure freedoms to which all Americans are entitled, regardless of who they love.”

For couples in the Northwest, where every state currently recognizes same sex marriage, the court’s ruling does not dramatically change the legal status quo, but some say it could lead to more acceptance of gay couples.

“We really could see a very big cultural shift as a result as well,” said Lisa McElroy, an associate professor of law at Drexel University.

The court’s decision also means that same-sex couples from Oregon looking to retire or work in other states can be confident their marriages will be valid when they move.

Oregon lawmakers welcomed the news.






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