A federal judge on Monday struck down
Oregon's ban on gay marriage.
“Because Oregon's marriage laws
discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation without a rational
relationship to any legitimate government interest, the laws violate
the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United
States Constitution,” U.S. District Judge Michael McShane wrote
in his 26 page brief.
The ruling comes on the heels of
similar decisions in Idaho and Arkansas.
But unlike those states, Oregon's
attorney general sided with plaintiffs and urged McShane to strike
down the ban.
“We simply can't imagine a
rationalization for the ban,” a lawyer for the state told McShane
Weddings are expected to begin as early
as Monday, provided counties wave a 3-day waiting period.
Thalia Zepatos, director of public
engagement at Freedom to Marry and an adviser to Oregon United for
Marriage, cheered the ruling.
“Today Judge McShane did the right
thing for families, affirming that the denial of marriage to
committed same-sex couples in Oregon is unconstitutional,” Zepatos
said in a statement. “In recognition of the strong support for
marriage among Oregonians, no one with legal standing, including our
state Attorney General, wanted to go down in history as defending
discrimination. Across the country, the courts agree: same-sex
couples and their families need the protections of marriage, and
anti-marriage laws are indefensible. With over 70 marriage cases now
making their way through the courts, today's decision in Oregon
underscores that all of America is ready for the freedom to marry.”
The National Organization for Marriage
(NOM) made a last-minute attempt to delay the ruling, filing for an
emergency stay with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San
Francisco. The court denied NOM's request.
marriage foe NOM denied emergency stay in pending Oregon marriage