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
BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
501 S.E. HAWTHORNE BLVD., ROOM 600
PORTLAND, OREGON 97204