Ban on same-sex marriage struck down in Oregon

BY Sarah Corapi  May 19, 2014 at 7:18 PM EDT

Gay rights supports crowded outside the Supreme Court in June, 2013, awaiting word on the fate of the Defense of Marriage Act. Photo by Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Gay rights supports crowded outside the Supreme Court in June, 2013, awaiting word on the fate of the Defense of Marriage Act. Photo by Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Same-sex couples lined up outside of the Multnomah County clerk’s office in Oregon on Monday morning, hoping that the day had finally come where they could legally obtain marriage licenses.

They didn’t have to wait long to find out. Around noon, local time, a federal judge overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriage on the grounds that it violated the U.S. Constitution.

“We always knew we wanted to spend our whole life together,” said Laurie Brown, who, along with partner Julie Engbloom, was among those waiting outside the clerk’s office. “This opportunity has come. It feels right. Everything has fallen into place.”

The ruling, delivered by U.S. District Judge Michael McShane, is a win for the four lesbian and gay couples who sued to overturn the ban. It also marks the 13th consecutive legal victory for same-sex marriage advocates since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned part of the Defense of Marriage Act in June 2013.

For Judge McShane, the ruling goes beyond the law and touches a more emotional side.

“I believe that if we can look for a moment past gender and sexuality, we can see in these plaintiffs nothing more or less than our own families,” McShane wrote. “Families who we would expect our constitution to protect, if not exalt, in equal measure.”