Oregon

Judge's Order Questions Benefits, Oregon's Measure 36

OPB | April 25, 2013 6:17 p.m. | Updated: April 26, 2013 9:36 a.m. | Portland

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A judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has decided that a Portland lesbian couple has a right to federal health benefits.

Anna Campbell (left) and Tex Clark (right), at their wedding last summer.

Anna Campbell (left) and Tex Clark (right), at their wedding last summer.

Stephanie Hull / Centric Photography

Alison Clark, who goes by Tex, works for the Federal Public Defender’s office in Portland. She and her partner, Anna Campbell, got married in British Columbia last summer. And Clark applied for health benefits for Campbell a few weeks later. But same-sex couples haven’t been eligible for federal benefits, and Clark was turned down.

Judge Harry Pregerson writes in his administrative order that Clark was the victim of discrimination because of her sexual orientation. He says Clark’s entitled to consideration under the Equal Protection Clause. Further, he writes that Measure 36, the Oregon law limiting marriage to one man and one woman, is impermissible.

Anna Campbell and Tex Clark, June 2012

Anna Campbell and Tex Clark, June 2012

Stephanie Hull / Centric Photography

Judge Pregerson writes Clark and Campbell’s marriage should be recognized as legal in Oregon.

A spokesman with Oregon’s Department of Justice said state attorneys are still reviewing the decision. Their initial conclusion, though, is that the order will have limited impact.

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