Dozens wed after Oregon gay marriage ruling

PORTLAND, Ore. - Dozens of gay and lesbian couples are now legally married in Oregon after a judge invalidated the state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.

Jubilant couples began applying for marriage licenses immediately after U.S. District Judge Michael McShane issued his ruling Monday, and many were married hours later. In Portland, Multnomah County issued more than 70 licenses, according to the gay-rights group Oregon United for Marriage.

Also Monday, a federal judge in Utah ordered state officials to recognize more than 1,000 gay marriages that took place in the state over a two-week period before the U.S. Supreme Court halted same-sex weddings with an emergency stay.

U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball said the stay put the couples in an unacceptable legal limbo regarding adoptions, child care and custody, medical decisions and inheritance. But he put a 21-day hold on his ruling to allow the state a chance to appeal.

The Oregon decision marks the 13th legal victory for gay marriage advocates since the Supreme Court last year overturned part of a federal ban. Here's a closer look at where things stand across the country:

-- HOW MANY STATES ALLOW SAME-SEX MARRIAGE?

Gay and lesbian couples can legally marry in 17 states and the District of Columbia. The two most recent states to make the unions legal were New Mexico and Hawaii, both of which did so in late 2013. Oregon's ruling is not expected to be challenged, which would make it the 18th state where gay marriage is legal.

In 11 states, federal or state judges recently have overturned same-sex marriage bans or ordered states to recognize out-of-state marriages. Appeals courts are reviewing those decisions. Ten are in the hands of federal appeals courts, and one is with a state appeals court.

-- COLORADO LAW

Nine same-sex couples in Colorado filed a lawsuit in February asking for marriage license for the five couples who are not married, and asking for marriage recognition for the four couples who were married in other states.

Eight years ago, voters banned gay marriage in the Colorado constitution.

The lawsuit claims the gay marriage ban violates the U.S. Constitution.

Last year, state lawmakers passed a bill granting unmarried couples, both gay and heterosexual, the right to apply for a civil union. The bill took effect on May 1, 2013.

However, the lawsuit claims that's an unequal option.

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