A federal appeals court on Wednesday
denied a request by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to
intervene in the case that struck down Oregon's gay marriage ban.
On May 19, U.S. District Judge Michael
McShane declared Oregon's 2004 voter-approved constitutional
amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples invalid.
The state, which sided with plaintiffs
in the case, immediately implemented McShane's order, making Oregon
the 18th state to allow gay couples to marry.
NOM turned to the Ninth Circuit Court
of Appeals in San Francisco after McShane denied its request to
intervene in the case
The group also asked the Supreme Court
to stay McShane's ruling as it seeks to intervene in the case. The
court denied the request.
Jeana Frazzini, executive director of
LGBT rights advocate Basic Rights Oregon applauded Wednesday's
“We're thrilled by the news but not
surprised at all,” she told The
Oregonian. “There was never any merit to their proposal
and they've been denied now at every turn.”
NOM President Brian Brown called the
decision disappointing in a blog post and said the group was
reviewing its options.
“We are of course disappointed with
the Ninth Circuit's decision today,” Brown said.
“We believe that the decision
conflicts with a prior Ninth Circuit opinion specifically recognizing
that a County Clerk with the duty to issue marriage licenses likely
would have standing to intervene and appeal an adverse judgment. NOM
alleged under oath that it had among its members just such a county
clerk, and it sought to intervene on the clerk's behalf under the
Supreme Court's well-established precedent in the case of NAACP v.
Alabama allowing membership organizations to pursue the interests
of their members when there are substantial hurdles to the members
litigating in their own name, such as the real threats of harassment
and violence that have been manifested elsewhere in the country
around the marriage issue. Because of that conflict, we will
certainly be exploring whether to file a petition for rehearing en
banc with the full Ninth Circuit or whether we will seek review
in the Supreme Court itself,” he added.