A federal judge just struck down Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage, hours after an appeals court denied the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage’s request for emergency stay. Couples in the state can begin marrying immediately.
“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 Monday.
Six other states — Idaho, Utah, Michigan, Virginia, Oklahoma and Texas — have legalized same-sex marriage since the landmark Defense of Marriage Act ruling last summer, but Oregon is unique in that no one in the state is in a position to appeal the decision. State Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum entered the discussion earlier this month on behalf of the plaintiffs, who include four same-sex couples seeking the right to marry. Rosenblum objected to NOM’s request to delay the federal decision, stating that she was the only one who had the ability to represent the state’s interests, and that those interests would not be served by prolonging the case. McShane heard oral arguments from the plaintiffs last month, but with Rosenblum declining to defend the ban, no one was in court to argue against the couples.
Thankfully, that seems to be all there is to it! With no one left who can argue in favor of the ban in court, couples can start marrying without fear of the uncertain fate faced by hundreds of couples in Arkansas after last week’s legal fracas there. Congratulations, Oregonians!
— Oregon United (@OR4Marriage) May 19, 2014