CORVALLIS, Oregon, March 24, 2004 ( – Benton county’s commissioners last week gave the go-ahead to issue marriage licenses to homosexuals, yet today county officials aren’t giving out marriage licenses at all – to same-sex or heterosexual couples. The three commissioners reversed their decision Monday in response to a deluge of lawsuits pending over similar actions taken by other jurisdictions around the country.

Benton County Commissioner Linda Modrell told the Reuters news service that “It may seem odd,” but “we need to treat everyone in our county equally.”  In a statement, State Attorney General Hardy Myers said that he was “very pleased” with the decision. “It is my sincere hope that legal process will provide clarity for each of Oregon’s counties.” Oregon’s Multnomah County is currently the only jurisdiction in the U.S. still illegally handing out marriage licenses to homosexual couples.  “We are happy Benton County is not going to violate the law by issuing illegal marriage licenses, but we are perplexed as to why they would not issue legal licenses,” Defense of Marriage Coalition spokesman, Tim Nashif, said. “Oregon not only has the only county in the nation issuing illegal (same-sex) marriage licenses, we probably have the only county in the nation refusing to issue marriage licenses at all.”  Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union has said it will file a lawsuit against Oregon State for not registering the 2,550 marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples by officials in Multnomah County.  And in Sandoval County, New Mexico, a judge has issued a temporary restraining order against the county clerk to prevent her from issuing more marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The courts will deliberate whether to issue a permanent injunction on April 2.  Clerk Victoria Dunlap, after issuing 66 licenses in February, was later advised by Attorney General Patricia Madrid that the licenses were invalid. Madrid said that “Until the laws are changed through the legislative process or declared unconstitutional by the judicial process, the statutes limit marriage in New Mexico to a man and a woman.”  Also, in Connecticut, a congressional delegation has declared their opposition to a constitutional amendment supported by U.S. President George W. Bush to affirm marriage solely as the union of a man and a woman. The delegation argues that individual states should make the decision whether to allow civil unions for same-sex couples.  Read the Reuters coverage at:;:40617890:98e0d46d51276ec?type=entertainmentNews&locale=en_IN&storyID=4640295


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