Gay couples married out of state will now be able to have their marriages recognised in the state of Oregon, where equal marriage is still banned.

Oregon’s Chief Operating Officer Michael Jordan issued a memo this week saying that all state agencies must recognise the marriages of same-sex couples married out of state, despite that Oregon still does not allow them to take place there.

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

The decision by the COO was based on a decision by the Oregon Department of Justice, which required the state to recognise all marriages performed elsewhere.

The ban on equal marriage in Oregon is being challenged by a 2014 initiative to have it put to a ballot, as well as a federal lawsuit. Two Portland couples filed a lawsuit in US District Court on Tuesday challenging the equal marriage ban.