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Historic marriage ruling spurs C.O. wedding issues


After Monday’s ruling to strike down Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage, we met the first couple to apply for a license in Deschutes County.

That couple is planning a small wedding, but that’s not necessarily the case for all same-sex couples.

NewsChannel 21 talked to various wedding vendors, photographers and florists, but many did not want to comment because of the sensitivity of the topic.

However, some venues are excited the new kind of wedding season, Sunriver Resort being one of them.

Sheila Shelton, director of catering at the resort, said, “Yesterday (Monday), we immediately got online and started looking up ‘gay marriage’ to see where we might advertise and where we might go after some of the business to bring it to the resort.”

Shelton said the ruling is not just positive for business — it’s also personal.

“Actually, I was waiting for the ruling, so I was very excited to see that it passed,” she said.

The resort also plans to create new packages, and even open up new wedding locations to accommodate different couples.

But the ruling is not without controversy. The group Friends of Religious Freedom has started a petition to create a law to allow wedding-industry businesses to deny services to gay couples.

We spoke with the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Baker, who agreed with that sentiment.

“The problem is now that this is now in danger of forcing consciences to conform to this kind of position,” Bishop Liam Cary said.

He also said clearly that no same-sex marriages will be happening in the Catholic Church.

Another group, the Oregon Family Council, released a statement saying, “Regardless of your view on same-sex marriage, May 19th, 2014 will be remembered as a tragic day for Oregonians.”

The group’s spokeswoman, Teresa Harke, also released a statement saying: “…newscasts will feature tearful couples at staged PR activities in courthouses. … The real tears should be for the next generation.”

Social issues aside, Sunriver officials think it’s great for business.

“We’re just excited to be growing that market and coming up with new opportunities that might be different to other resorts in the northwest,” Shelton said.

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