The government of Oregon yesterday told its agencies this week that the state must recognize same-sex marriages from other states effective immediately.

Michael Jordan, chief operating officer for state government, sent a memo this week to all agency directors advising them of the policy.

"Oregon agencies must recognize all out-of-state marriages for the purposes of administering state programs," Jordan wrote. "That includes legal, same sex marriages performed in other states and countries."

Oregon has a constitutional ban on gay marriage, but this recent ruling means that gay couples who were legally married in other states are entitled to the same benefits in Oregon as any other married couple, said officials from the Department of Administrative Services.

The memo was written after Jordan received a seven-page legal opinion from the Oregon Department of Justice, which he had sought out due to the proximity of neighboring states California and Washington, that now both recognize same-sex marriage.