SEASIDE, Ore. Oregon s constitutional ban on gay marriage suffered a massive blow Saturday when many top Oregon Republicans voted overwhelmingly to endorse same-sex marriage at the Dorchester Conference, an annual Republican-dominated retreat in Seaside.

The conference celebrated 50 years this weekend and resulted in the first-ever endorsement of marriage equality after a 233 to 162 vote in favor of opposing Oregon's ban.

The freedom to marry is consistent with the Republican values of freedom, commitment and personal responsibility, said Dan Occhipinti, a Portland attorney and Freedom Oregon leader. If you can pay taxes and fight for your country, you should be able to marry the person you love.

Freedom Oregon is a coalition of Republican leaders that formed this year to rally support for a ballot initiative that would overturn Oregon s Constitutional ban on same-sex marriage passed in 2004 that amended Oregon s Constitution to define marriage as a union of one man and one woman

In February, Oregon s Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said she would not defend the state s ban on gay marriage.

On Tuesday, Multnomah County interim Chair Marissa Madrigal said that the county supports same-sex marriage even though it has been charged with enforcing a state ban put in place in 2004

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