Main | Thursday, April 24, 2014

OREGON: Marriage Gets Its Hearing

Here's how things went in Oregon yesterday:
Lawyers for four gay and lesbian couples and the state of Oregon urged a federal judge Wednesday to strike down Oregon's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage. No comments were made in favor of the ban, so lawyers on both sides of the case were in the rare position of asking for the same ruling from the judge. Oregon's attorney general, Democrat Ellen Rosenblum, has said the ban is legally indefensible and has refused to offer arguments in favor of keeping it.

Judge Michael McShane did not say which way he was leaning. His questioning focused heavily on how he should apply precedents from higher courts and whether he should delay implementation of his ruling until appeals courts sort out gay marriage cases pending around the country. The judge is deciding two parallel cases. The couples who filed suit are asking him to declare the ban unconstitutional and allow same-sex couples to wed. They also want an order that same-sex marriages performed in other states must be recognized in Oregon.
NOM isn't happy about not being there.
McShane has said he won't rule on the constitutionality of the same-sex marriage ban until he decides on a request filed this week by the National Organization for Marriage to defend it. McShane said he'll consider the group's request next month and, if he grants it, he'll hold new oral arguments so the group can defend the ban. The group's chairman, John Eastman, said the judge would benefit from hearing several arguments that weren't raised in court Wednesday because nobody was defending the ban. "The notion that there are no plausible arguments to make in defense of marriage is ludicrous," said Eastman, who also is a law professor at Chapman University in California.

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