ASHLAND, Ore. – Gina DuQuenne looked at her phone Monday, covered her mouth, and hugged a friend. After composing herself, she turned to the crowd of supporters in the Ashland Plaza.
“It’s real!” she shouted. The crowd let out a cheer, as friends and couples embraced. “We can get married! It’s real!”
Monday, U.S. District Judge Michael McShane ruled that Oregon’s 2004 ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. It means gay and lesbian couples can immediately be married in Oregon.
“”No legitimate state purpose justifies the preclusion of gay and lesbian couples from civil marriage,” McShane wrote in his decision.
Some couples immediately drove to the Jackson County Clerk’s office to apply for marriage licenses, fighting back tears as they were handed the papers.
“Oh this is amazing,” said Jenny Remley, who is marrying longtime partner Claudia Bolinger on Saturday in Talent. “This is an amazing event for us. This is history.”
Remley and Bolinger have been together for 16 years, and said they are ready to finally, legally, be able to tie the know.
“You hear the saying, you’re already married in your heart, but sometimes just to be recognized is an important thing too,” Bolinger said.
She emphatically gestured over to Remley.
“This is my legal wife. No one can say a thing about that.”
Technical difficulties delayed some of the processing at the Clerk’s office. Jackson County Clerk Chris Walker said that is expected, as workers will be updating the system to allow same-sex marriage. She said couples should expect long lines at the office.
But couples on Monday said it was worth the wait.
“We’ve been waiting 27 years for this date,” said Julian Spalding, who will marry Terry Brown. “So another 10 or 15 minutes will make no difference.”