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What Decision On Same-Sex Marriage Means For Oregon

In a 5-4 decision today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Constitution grants same-sex couples the right to marry.

The decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, invalidates the marriage bans that remain in 14 states, and upholds the many recent rulings by federal court judges in favor of same sex marriage, including that of U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane in Oregon and U.S. District Magistrate Judge Candy Dale in Idaho.

In a statement, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown voiced her approval of the ruling.

"Today, love wins. The United States Supreme Court extended the right to marry nationwide, giving couples and families the freedoms and recognition they deserve."

The majority decision, authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, held that marriage is a fundamental liberty, “keystone of the nation’s social order,” protected by the due process clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

The majority also found that state’s bans on same-sex marriage violated the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.

“Especially against a long history of disapproval of their relationships, this denial works a grave and continuing harm, serving to disrespect and subordinate gays and lesbians,” Kennedy wrote.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-OR, celebrated the decision saying, "Today the Supreme Court stands on the right side of history, extending marriage rights to same-sex couples in all 50 states. Although the fight for equal rights for the LGBTQ community is far from over, today’s decision is a critical milestone in helping secure freedoms to which all Americans are entitled, regardless of who they love."

For couples in the Northwest, where every state currently recognizes same sex marriage, the court's ruling does not dramatically change the legal status quo, but some say it could lead to more acceptance of gay couples.

"We really could see a very big cultural shift as a result as well," said Lisa McElroy, an associate professor of law at Drexel University.

The court's decision also means that same-sex couples from Oregon looking to retire or work in other states can be confident their marriages will be valid when they move.

Oregon lawmakers welcomed the news.

<p>On Friday, June 26, community members gathered in downtown Portland to celebrate the Supreme Court decision to legalize LGBT marriage across the country.</p>

Alan Sylvestre

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On Friday, June 26, community members gathered in downtown Portland to celebrate the Supreme Court decision to legalize LGBT marriage across the country.

<p>In a 5-4 decision today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Constitution grants same-sex couples the right to&nbsp;marry.</p>

Alan Sylvestre

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In a 5-4 decision today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Constitution grants same-sex couples the right to marry.

<p>U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley spoke about the progress of gay marriage in Oregon.</p>

Alan Sylvestre

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U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley spoke about the progress of gay marriage in Oregon.

<p>Members of the Portland community applaud speakers on a historic day.</p>

Alan Sylvestre

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Members of the Portland community applaud speakers on a historic day.

<p>Reverend Cecil Prescott delivered a message to supporters of same-sex marriage gathered at Terry Schrunk Plaza.</p>

Alan Sylvestre

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Reverend Cecil Prescott delivered a message to supporters of same-sex marriage gathered at Terry Schrunk Plaza.

<p>A young supporter shows her enthusiasm among the crowd.</p>

Alan Sylvestre

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A young supporter shows her enthusiasm among the crowd.

<p>U.S. Senator Ron Wyden was also present at the rally.</p>

Alan Sylvestre

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U.S. Senator Ron Wyden was also present at the rally.

<p>President Obama tweeted: 'Today is a big step in our march toward equality. Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, just like anyone else. #LoveWins'</p>

Alan Sylvestre

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President Obama tweeted: 'Today is a big step in our march toward equality. Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, just like anyone else. #LoveWins'

<p>Oregon Gov. Kate Brown released a statement saying, "While the Supreme Court has upheld the union of marriage, our work is not done. Let us remember that we still must strive to end discrimination and hate so that all people live with dignity."</p>

Alan Sylvestre

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Oregon Gov. Kate Brown released a statement saying, "While the Supreme Court has upheld the union of marriage, our work is not done. Let us remember that we still must strive to end discrimination and hate so that all people live with dignity."

<p>To celebrate the Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage across the country, Portland City Hall draped a colorful banner across their entrance.</p>

Alan Sylvestre

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To celebrate the Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage across the country, Portland City Hall draped a colorful banner across their entrance.

<p>Hundreds gathered in downtown Portland on June 14, 2015 to celebrate Pride Northwest, an annual parade to promote gay and lesbian activism.</p>

Alan Sylvestre

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Hundreds gathered in downtown Portland on June 14, 2015 to celebrate Pride Northwest, an annual parade to promote gay and lesbian activism.

Copyright 2015 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Amelia Templeton is a multimedia reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting, covering Portland city hall, justice and local news. She was previously a reporter for EarthFix, an award-winning public media project covering the environment in the Northwest.