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Lisa Naito's Statement Reguarding Issuance of Marriage Licenses

Statement of Multnomah County Commissioner Lisa Natio Reguarding Issuance of Marriage Licenses Monday, March 15 2004
Press Release:

The verdict is in. The legal scholars agree. State marriage law violates the Oregon constitution. Quote, "... withholding from same-sex couples the legal rights, benefits, and obligation that -- under current law -- are automatically granted to married couples of the opposite sex like violates Articale 1, section 20 of the Oregon Consitution." Those are the words of Hardy Myers. His opinion on the constitutionality of the state statute is in agreement with Multnomah County Attorney Agnes Sowle, Stoel Rives lawyer and the constitutional expert Charles Hinkle, and Oregons's Legislative Council, Gregory Chaimov.

However, through some convoluted, bureaucratic gibberish, Myers and the Governor advise us to continue to discriminate. The governor's instruction last week to the county clearks in Oregon was to "apply the existing law" and not obey the Constitution. In my view, same-sex couples should be lining up at county clerks offices across the state to ask, "Will you issue us a marriage license today in accordance with the Oregon Constitution, or will you discriminate and show prejudice?"

This is Law School 101. You learn in the first week of class that the Constitution always prevails when state law is wrong. The Governor could have shown leadership in achieving conssistency in our State's civil marriage laws. he could have asked all thirty-five other Counties to obey the Constitution. He did not. He took the politically expedient course and cowers behind a state statute he and the attorney general know violates people's constitutional rights.

Despite all the political pressure, despite the obscene and vulgar threats I have received, I refuse to sacrifice the law for politics. Multnomah County has been given the choice of obeying the Constitution or pandering to the Governor. Based on my oath of office, my choice is clear: I will not thumb my nose at the Constitution of the State of Oregon

(503) 988-5217
? 15.Mar.2004 16:42

nosey posey

Link? This may be the genuine article, but I thought their office used spell-checker, and was a bit more diplomatic as well. And I couldn't find this on her website, which appears to be quite infrequently updated.

A real statement 15.Mar.2004 21:27


The following statement was taken from the Basic Rights Oregon news page which adds source credibility. This is much more indicative of the style of Lisa Naito. I would be suprised if the information provided above was written by Commissioner Naito or her staff.

3/13/04: The following statement is from District 3 Multnomah County Commissioner Lisa Naito (herself an attorney) reacting to Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers' legal opinion concerning same-sex marriage:

"I look forward to the Oregon Courts, in the very near future, affirming the opinions of County Attorney Agnes Sowle, attorney Charles Hinkle, and Legislative Counsel Gregory Chaimov that the Oregon Constitution requires us to grant marriage licenses to same sex couples.

"I respect Attorney General Hardy Myers and his opinion. However, quoting our Governor, 'It's just another lawyer talking.'

"While Multnomah County does not need to abide by Mr. Myers' opinion, I agree with the Chair's directive this afternoon [to temporarily suspend licensing for all couples, gay and straight]. County Attorney Agnes Sowle needs the opportunity to analyze Mr. Myers' opinion.

"Just as the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has ruled that same sex marriages are constitutionally protected, I have no doubt that the Oregon Supreme Court in its wisdom will find that the fundamental right of marriage cannot be limited to opposite sex couples.

"It is right and proper for the justices of the Oregon Supreme Court to consider the constitutionality of same sex marriage, as the courts are one of the three branches of government that provides the checks-and-balances to our revered democratic system."

The typo demon got me... =P 15.Mar.2004 21:41


This article came straight from Lisa Naito herself. I know because I picked up the statement at a press conference today (03/15/04 @ 3:00 p.m.) at the board of county commissioners offices. I typed it up rather quickly and didn't have access to a computer with spell checker. My intention was to get the release out on the web for everyone to see. Sorry if I confused anyone, but this article is the real deal and came right from the source.

For pictures of the conference click here:  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/03/282971.shtml

thanks and wow 15.Mar.2004 22:06

nosey posey

I know Naito is not one to back down from a challenge, but her language is surprisingly undiplomatic in this case. I'm not saying it should be--just that I am surprised. And THANKS! for doing us Indy-readers the service of typing up her press release.

No problem 15.Mar.2004 22:11


All in a days work. =)