by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Officiant Melissa Coe of Melissa Coe ceremonies, stands with her clients Sarah and Kate.U.S. District Judge Michael McShane at noon today ruled that Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

Attorneys filed two lawsuits last year in the federal court in Eugene to challenge laws that exclude same-sex couples from marriage in Oregon, and the cases were combined, going before McShane.

McShane on May 14 also ruled that conservative group National Organization for Marriage does not have the right to defend Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage. McShane said he was not willing to grant legal status to an out-of-state organization that has 100 Oregon members. A lawyer for NOM appealed McShane’s ruling to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but the appeal failed.

The governor and state attorney general already have announced they will not defend the ban.

Melissa Coe, who owns Melissa Coe Ceremonies in Lake Oswego, said as a celebrant and officiant, it makes no sense to her to deny a client the right to marriage to the one they love.

"Why in God’s name would I deny that?" she said. "Isn’t that what we are called to do?"

By Jillian Daley
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