Wedding bells chime major victory for LGBT+ community in Oregon

Judge Michael McShane of the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon changed the tide for same-sex couples in Oregon on May 19, 2014 when he ruled that Oregon’s voter-approved 2004 initiative defining marriage as a “union between one man and one woman” as unconstitutional. The ruling led to the immediate issuing of same-sex couple marriage licenses.

This is a big deal for Oregon, which is now the 18th state of 19 (Pennsylvania’s ban was struck down today) to allow same-sex marriage. The rapid change in opinion on the matter in just 10 years has been the fastest change in political and social opinion in the history of the country. The fact that dozens of gay couples were spontaneously married in Oregon on the day of the ruling suggests that many more couples will soon follow in their footsteps.

McShane cited that in the “Equal Protection Clause” of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment there “exists a foundational belief that certain rights should be shielded from the barking crowds; that certain rights are subject to ownership by all and not the stake hold of popular trend or shifting majorities.”

From here, I can only hope that more federal judges and state voter initiatives follow the trend that Massachusetts started back in 2004. The tide is turning against the homophobic prejudice of the past, and those who still hold those beliefs. The coming generations will view the Gay Rights Movement as they view the Civil Rights Movement, as an extremely important and beneficial change for the betterment of the nation’s future, and of society as a whole.