The legal tango over same-sex marriages continued last week when the Court of Appeals ordered the state to register the 3,000 marriage licenses issued to couples this spring. Ever since March, those licenses have been in limbo, as the state tried to figure out how to handle Multnomah County's decision to hand them out.
Usually a marriage becomes officially recognized when the Secretary of State tucks the license into its files. But in the fight over same-sex marriages, this largely clerical gesture took on acute significance after the anti-gay group In Defense of Marriage requested that the state not file the licenses until the pending lawsuit was resolved--something that could take at least another year.
In Defense of Marriage spokespersons tried to temper the court's decision, calling it "utterly unremarkable." Kelly Clark, the group's attorney, explained that, "[The decision] simply says the state should file them, with the decision about their validity to be decided another day." PB
APPLES, BERRIES & AGENTS Picking season commonly draws thousands of migrant workers to Oregon. And along with them comes immigration agents nipping at their heels.
Ironically, over the Independence Day weekend it was rumored the Department of Homeland Security (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) was conducting major raids and stops between Salem and Portland. The news spread like wildfire through the Latino communities and amongst immigration attorneys. There were reports that agents were waiting for shoppers to come out of the bigger bargain stores. One woman reported that so many people were detained that a Wal-Mart parking lot in Salem was nearly full with empty cars at the end of the day.
"A lot of people don't even want to go shopping anymore," she said, fearing detention herself.
But federal agents have denied the rumors, and it remains unclear whether they are cracking down extra hard this year or if this is more a matter of mass hysteria. Last Wednesday, for example, news spread that agents were conducting a mobile checkpoint along I-205, a thoroughfare for many pickers. However, it turned out the road was closed because of a wildfire. PB