PORTLAND -- How will Monday's ruling impact same-sex married couples, legally?

As far as benefits are concerned, it won't add much to what same-sex couples already receive under Oregon's Domestic Partnership law.

However, it will remove something that same-sex marriage supporters have called a separate but equal status.

Marriage will just be marriage, said Erin Ryan, a law professor at Lewis & Clark College. I think the most important part of this ruling is one that confers equal dignity on all Oregonians.

Ryan pointed out that same-sex married couples cannot be denied service from for-profit business, like commercial wedding planners, for example. Also, employers must provide appropriate benefits for same-sex married couples.

But churches and religious institutions may decline giving certain services, like officiating a wedding, if they choose to.

In the big legal picture, Oregon is in a unique spot, since no one at the state level has tried to uphold the same-sex marriage ban.

Oregon could be one of the first states in which (Monday's ruling) stands at the trial level, said Ryan. We may be done.

Other state officials have contested marriage equality rulings, like the governor of Idaho. That means there's a chance that as the National Organization for Marriage appeals Oregon's ruling, it may be decided through one of the other state s appeals, first.

Background: Judge strikes down Oregon gay marriage ban

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