After the Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act this year, not recognizing marriages conducted in other jurisdictions “would likely violate the federal Constitution,” Williams wrote.
In a memo sent to state agencies, Department of Administrative Services Director Michael Jordan said the opinion means that state agencies “must recognize all out-of-state marriages for the purposes of administering state programs.”
Oregon courts have ruled in the past that out-of-state marriages not allowed under state law — namely common-law marriages — should still be recognized, Williams said in her opinion.
Oregon voters passed a constitutional amendment to define marriage as a heterosexual union in 2004. The state has legally recognized same-sex domestic partnerships since 2008, and gay rights groups are gathering signatures to put a same-sex marriage initiative on the 2014 ballot.
Willamette Week, an alternative weekly in Portland, first reported the news.