Same-sex couples can now marry legally in Oregon after a federal judge Monday overturned the state's ban on gay marriage.
Weddings began almost immediately. County clerks started issuing marriage licenses minutes after U.S. District Judge Michael McShane issued his opinion. Same-sex couples lined up outside marriage license offices in Portland and Eugene in anticipation of a ruling in their favor.
In Salem, Jammie Russell and Michelle Hatfield watched coverage of the ruling on TV then headed out to pick up a license. Russell said she never thought she'd have the chance to marry her partner of nearly two years.
"I feel like I'm a real American now. A real, legal American," said Russell. "After all of these years, I have the same, not special rights, the same rights."
Oregon's attorney general had decided not to defend the state ban on gay marriage. That means there's no one who can appeal the ruling. A national group filed a last-minute request for a stay, but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals turned them down.