A federal judge in Oregon has said the gay marriage ban that was adopted by Oregon voters in 2004 should be upheld, sweeping aside arguments by gay rights supporters that the measure was flawed.
Judge Harry Pregerson ruled on a narrow personnel case in which Alison Clark appealed the denial of benefits for her partner, Anna Campbell, under the Federal Employees Health Care Benefits program. The state of Oregon does not recognize their marriage.
Clark, a public defender in Portland, married Campbell in British Columbia on June 23, 2012. When the couple returned to Oregon and applied for health benefits, they were denied under the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which also defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
Clark appealed the decision about her benefits, and Pregerson ruled in her favor. He also issued a lengthy opinion – but not a ruling -on Measure 36. His opinion comes as the United States Supreme Court considers an appeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. The court is expected to rule later this summer.
Nine states and Washington, D.C. currently allow same-sex marriages. The most recent to allow it is Rhode Island, whose legislature passed a bill on Wednesday to grant marriage rights to same-sex couples.