A federal judge struck down Oregon's same-sex marriage ban Monday, allowing gay couples to wed immediately.
U.S. District Judge Michael McShane threw out the ban, which was approved by Oregon voters back in 2004.
As soon as McShane's ruling was announced, plaintiffs Deanna Geiger and Janine Nelson became the first couple to receive a same-sex marriage license in Multnomah County.
They were one of four gay and lesbian couples who brought suit arguing Oregon's marriage laws unconstitutionally discriminate against same-sex couples. Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum then said the ban was legally indefensible and refused to offer arguments supporting it in the lead up to the ruling.
Gov. John Kitzhaber said he'll be working in the coming days to ensure that the process is "smooth for all those who have been waiting for so many years for this day to come."
Oregon's two U.S. Senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, each praised the decision.
"Everyone in America ought to be free to marry the person that they love. And at long last, that freedom has come to Oregon," Wyden said.
Merkley said the most basic freedom - to marry the one you love - is now a reality for all Oregonians.
"The arc of history is long, but it does indeed bend toward justice," he said in a written statement.
A national group that sought to keep Oregon's ban on gay marriage took its case to a federal appeals court and asked for an emergency stay to prevent Monday's ruling. That request was denied, allowing McShane to make his announcement at noon.
In Multnomah County, 96 marriage licenses were issued to gay couples on Monday.
Many couples rushed over to the Melody Ballroom in southeast Portland to get married immediately.
"It felt amazing, I love her with my whole heart and soul, it was amazing," said newlywed Onesha Cochran.
"The wait was long but it was worth it, we are very, very happy, and I am very honored to be this man's spouse," said newlywed Phillip Hillare.
May 15, 2014 - Same-sex marriages on hold in Idaho
Dec. 5, 2012 - WA Gov signs law legalizing gay marriage
Copyright 2014 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.