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Oregon to recognize out-of-state gay marriages

PORTLAND – Although it’s still not legal for same-sex couples to marry in Oregon, the state is now recognizing the marriages of those who tie the knot in another state or country.

In a memo sent to state agencies Wednesday, state Chief Operating Officer Michael Jordan said same-sex couples married in places where it is legal are immediately eligible for the same benefits as other married couples.

“It’s pretty wide-ranging if you think about all the places where a married couple could interact with a state agency,” said Matt Shelby, spokesman for the Department of Administrative Services. “Whether it is income taxes or filing a business or the other multitude of places where a married couple would have some rights or responsibilities, this decision could affect those interactions.”

Jordan’s decision, first reported by the Willamette Week newspaper, was based on a legal opinion from the Oregon Department of Justice. The opinion was sought by Jordan because the U.S. Supreme Court decision that invalidated portions of the Defense of Marriage Act meant federal agencies operating in Oregon could be dealing with same-sex couples differently than state agencies.