SALEM, Ore. (CN) – The Oregon Court of Appeals upheld the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, affirming the constitutionality of the state law on the heels of a controversial California Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage.
The ruling upheld Measure 36, passed by the Oregon voters in 2004. Judge Haselton stated that the law does not violate the remedy clause or the “home rule” provisions of the state constitution.
The remedy clause does not apply because, when the constitution was enacted, common-law marriages were limited to unions between men and women.
The “home rule” provision did not apply due to a previous appellate ruling that marriage is controlled at the state level, not the local level.
Haselton found that Measure 36 was an amendment, not a revision, to the constitution, because it does not change a fundamental right. Therefore, it was properly enacted by the voters and did not need to be referred by the legislature, as a revision would.
Juan Martinez and 21 other plaintiffs had sued the state of Oregon and Gov. Theodore Kulongoski over the measure. The Defense of Marriage Coalition PAC intervened on behalf of the state.