Same-Sex Couples Awaiting Court Decision

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TALENT, Ore. – One week after cheering the ruling that overturned Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage, local gay and lesbian couples are worried they soon won’t be able to get married at all.

The National Organization for Marriage has appealed to the Supreme Court, asking for a stay in Judge Michael McShane’s ruling overturning the voter-approved ban. If the high court grants the stay, it would put a halt to same-sex marriages in Oregon while the court considers the case.

After last week’s decision, many couples rushed to county courthouse to fill out marriage licenses, including Julian Spalding and Terry Brown of Talent. The couple had planned a wedding ceremony on Saturday, news of a possible stay ruling had them worried that it would prevent them from getting married. As a result, the couple gathered witnesses and their minister together Wednesday to sign the marriage license and make it legal.

“If there is a stay either today or tomorrow or sometime before Saturday, we would have beat them to the punch,” Spalding said.

The couple still plans to hold the ceremony on Saturday in Talent.

“It is a little strange to have to do it that way,” Spalding said. “We had to pull our witnesses together today so we would have our two witnesses. We prefer not to have to do it that way, but we’re doing what we feel we have to do to protect ourselves.”

But other same-sex couples are worried a possible stay would put their wedding plans on hold. Gina DuQuenne, director of Southern Oregon Pride, has been planning a September wedding to her longtime partner.

“You set a date, you plan, you send out invitations, you get excited, and now it’s panic,” DuQuenne said. “Is this going to happen or is it not going to happen?”

DuQuenne said she’s holding out hope that Justice Anthony Kennedy denies the request for a stay, both for herself and other couples planning weddings.

“Right now I think we are in a state of limbo and waiting,” she said.

In January, the Supreme Court issued an emergency stay on same-sex marriages in Utah, after a ruling overturning a state ban was appealed.