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Jackson County clerk's office ready to issue same-sex marriage licenses

 Posted: 12:20 PM May 19, 2014

Jackson County Clerk Chris Walker said her staff, although small, is prepared to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples this afternoon now that U.S. District Judge Michael McShane has ruled to allow it.

The federal judge overturned Oregon's voter-approved gay marriage ban, enacted in 2004.

Walker said her staff would update the county's computer system as soon as they get notification from the state's vital records office.

"The system is ready to go, but we just have to work with our vendor to get the new version loaded," she said.

Language in the digital application had to be changed from "bride and groom" to "partners," Walker explained.

All couples will be directed to fill out the application at the Jackson County Clerk's Office, 10 S. Oakdale Ave., Medford, and then have to wait in line to be issued a license and pay the $55 fee. The license is not valid until three days after it has been issued. However, a couple can pay an additional $17 to have it validated immediately, Walker explained.

"We treat all of our customers the same with competence, service and respect," she said. "We follow the laws of the state of Oregon. I'm not a commissioner or legislator where we set policy."

As of this morning, Walker said she, personally, had not received any phone calls from inquiring same-sex couples. And, as of 10:30 a.m., there were no couples waiting at the courthouse to get their marriage license pending McShane's decision.

Four deputy clerks will be in the office this afternoon to prepare the paperwork and answer questions.

Walker wanted to remind everyone to be patient.

"We are a small staff in the middle of a big election and the middle of this big decision," she said.

— Teresa Thomas

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