Judge strikes down Oregon gay marriage ban

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A federal judge struck down Oregon's gay marriage ban on Monday, a decision in one of more than 70 marriage equality lawsuits working their way through courts across the U.S.

The order from U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane ending the ban is effective immediately, according to Buzzfeed.

“Because Oregon’s marriage laws discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, the laws violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution,” U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane wrote.

In concluding, McShane — an out gay Oregon judge appointed to the federal bench by President Obama — write that “on this issue of marriage I am struck more by our similarities than our differences. 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. Families who we would expect our Constitution to protect, if not exalt, in equal measure. With discernment we see not shadows lurking in closets or the stereotypes of what was once believed; rather, we see families committed to the common purpose of love, devotion, and service to the greater community.”

LGBT activists in Oregon were prepared for Monday's decision, one of a string of recent rulings allowing gay marriage. Deanna Geiger and Janine Nelson (above), were ready to get married on Monday if McShane struck down the ban.

Two of the plaintiffs in the case, Deanna Geiger and Janine Nelson, plan to marry at the office if McShane does indeed allow same-sex marriages to begin.  After a 31-year engagement, we are ready to say 'I do,'” Geiger was quoted as saying in the press release.

The case was filed in October challenging the state's 2004, voter-approved ban. Georgia voters also OK'd a gay marriage ban that year. A federal lawsuit challenging it was filed last month.

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