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Judge strikes down Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage

Judge strikes down Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage

Same-sex marriage supporters Laurel Gregory (L) and Shilpi Banerjee, who are the first in line for marriage licenses, smile in Portland, Oregon May 19, 2014. Photo: Reuters/Steve Dipaola

PORTLAND, Oregon (Reuters) – A federal judge struck down Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage on Monday, saying that it violated the U.S. Constitution, in a ruling that was greeted by cheers from gay rights activists.

The ruling came after Oregon’s attorney general announced in February that she would not defend a voter-approved 2004 amendment to the state constitution that defined marriage as a union exclusively between a man and a woman.

“There is no legitimate state interest that would justify the denial of the full and equal recognition, attendant rights, benefits, protections, privileges, obligations, responsibilities and immunities of marriage to same-gender couples,” U.S. District Judge Michael McShane said in his written ruling responding to a lawsuit by four same-sex couples.

Marriage rights have been extended to gay couples in 17 states and the District of Columbia in a trend that has gained momentum since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last June that legally married same-sex couples nationwide are eligible for federal benefits.

That decision, which struck down part of the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act, has been cited by a number of federal judges in subsequent opinions overturning state bans on gay matrimony.

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In this photo released by Fox, Homer explains why he wants to bring back the annual 4th of July fireworks display, after it's cancelled for budget reasons, in the "Yellow Badge of Cowardge" Season Finale episode of "The Simpsons," in May 2014. The full 25-year run of "The Simpsons" will arrive on cable channel FXX with a summer marathon, to be paired this fall with a digital extravaganza that could turn other TV shows yellow with envy. "I'm not going to over-promise, but I think this website will provide you with affordable health care," longtime "Simpsons" executive producer Al Jean told a TV critics' meeting Monday, July 21, 2014.

The recent marathon of all 552 episodes of "The Simpsons" inspired us to sit down and come up with our 10 favorite episodes. Enjoy!