Oregon Judge OKs Gay Marriage Licenses

Supporters of same-sex weddings won a legal battle Monday when a judge ruled the most populous county in Oregon can continue issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

Multnomah County Presiding Judge Dale Koch (search) denied a request for a preliminary injunction.

He assigned the case to another judge in the expectation that the case will go to trial at some point.

Koch's ruling is the first step in what is expected to be a lengthy case over Multnomah County's (search) decision last week to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The Defense of Marriage Coalition (search) last week filed a lawsuit against the county, saying officials had violated the state's public meetings law by not holding public meetings before making a policy change.

That group asked Koch to issue a preliminary injunction to stop the issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Koch, however, said he saw no grounds for issuing the injunction.

"I am not satisfied by the standard of clear and convincing evidence that the plaintiffs would prevail under Oregon public meeting law considerations," Koch said.

The county has issued more than 1,200 marriage licenses to same-sex couples since last Wednesday.