In early 2004, Multnomah County commissioners authorized the issuing of marriage licenses for same-sex couples in the Portland metropolitan area. On March 7th of that year, my partner of 14 years, Ed Cunningham, and I were married in front of about 60 friends and family on the stage of Theater! Theatre!. Publisher/editor (and personal friend) Christian Messer recently had us take a look back at that time in an interview for the "Gay Marriage...Where Oregon is Headed" issue of his publication id Magazine.
The article allowed us to reflect on the excitement, joy and disappointments of our wedding day during a historic time in Oregon. The issuing of same-sex marriage licenses in Multnomah County began a political battle over the issue that resulted later that year in an amendment to the Oregon Constitution defining marriage. Then, on April 14, 2005, the Oregon State Supreme Court ruled that all such licenses were void from their inception, and the court further ruled that the Oregon Constitution now expressly limits marriage to opposite-sex couples. The political and legal struggle for marriage equality in Oregon continues.
Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski signed a domestic partnership bill into law on May 9, 2007. Called the Oregon Family Fairness Act, the law would provide several major rights to same-sex couples that were previously only given to married couples, including the ability to file jointly on insurance forms, hospital visitation rights, and rights relating to the deceased partner. While January 1, 2008 was the date the statute would have taken effect, a court challenge delayed its implementation until being resolved on February 1, 2008, and the law went into effect that day, with registrations beginning on February 4, 2008.*
Soon afterwards Ed and I finally became legal domestic partners, recognized by the State of Oregon. However, our domestic partnership had already been registered with Portland and Multnomah County since 2000. As I mentioned to Christian Messer, while being interviewed for the id Magazine piece, by the time the same-sex marriage issue is finally resolved in Oregon we will be able to wallpaper a room with license and registration certificates related to our relationship.
Ed and I will celebrate 20 years together in May of this year.
id Magazine is a monthly publication for the LGBTIQ community of Portland and Oregon. It is distributed online and in print.
© 2010 Jeff Fisher Logomotives