John M. Becker

Undefended Oregon Marriage Ban Goes to Court Today

Filed By John M. Becker | April 23, 2014 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: gay marriage, marriage ban, marriage discrimination, marriage equality, Oregon

oregon_rainbow.pngToday, at 1:30 P.M. Pacific Time (4:30 P.M. Eastern), U.S. District Judge Michael McShane will hear oral arguments in Geiger/Rummell v. Kitzhaber, a lawsuit challenging Oregon's 2004 marriage discrimination amendment.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced in February that she will not defend the ban, because she says it "cannot withstand a federal constitutional challenge under any standard of review." No one has stepped up to defend the amendment, meaning that today's challenge will go before Judge McShane unopposed.

On Monday, the National Organization for Marriage Discrimination moved to intervene in the case and delay today's arguments. (Some viewed NOM's bid as an attempt to drag out the court proceedings long enough to force a ballot fight in November.)

Judge McShane denied their request to delay the proceedings yesterday. He has reserved judgment on NOM's bid to intervene and will hear arguments on that issue on May 14, but today's hearing will proceed as scheduled.

An analysis from the Oregonian breaking down potential outcomes from this lawsuit is after the jump.

From The Oregonian:

McShane says he won't rule on the case itself until at least after he holds the May 14 hearing on the motion to intervene. Backers of a gay marriage initiative are urging the judge to rule by May 23. If he strikes the law down before then, sponsors of the initiative say they won't have to take their measure to the November ballot. However, McShane is under no deadline to rule.

If the judge allows the National Organization for Marriage to intervene, it's doubtful there would be any quick ruling. Also, the group presumably would then have the legal standing to appeal any decision striking down Oregon's prohibition.

In addition, McShane could decide on his own to stay his ruling while seeing how the appellate courts rule.

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