WASHINGTON – A traditional marriage group has asked a U.S. Supreme Court justice to put a hold on the court decision that overturned Oregon’s same-sex marriage ban.
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) filed a motion with Supreme Court Justice and Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Anthony Kennedy, to put a stay on a May 19 ruling that declared Oregon’s same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Michael McShane, who is gay himself, ruled on May 19, that Oregon's voter-approved ban on gay marriage had "no legitimate" state function and that it was in violation of a federal obligation to protect the rights of all citizens equally.
NOM wants time to mount a full challenge to the ruling, which it sees as a violation of a voter mandate, according to NOM chairman John Eastman.
“This case is an ugly spectacle of the state refusing to defend the sovereign act of its voters to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” Eastman said.
In February, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said she would not defend the state against the federal suit, calling the state’s ban indefensible.
NOM attempted to intervene at the 11th hour, saying it would defend the challenge to Oregon's ban on behalf of its Oregon members, who refused to be named. That request was dismissed, as was a request for a stay that went to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Gay rights organization, Oregon United for Marriage, said NOM was grasping at straws.
"Let’s make one thing clear: NOM can’t win an appeal ... they know that," said OUM deputy campaign manager Amy Ruiz. "Today’s motion is just their latest, last-ditch attempt to keep loving Oregon families from sharing in the freedom to marry as long as they possibly can."
McShane’s ruling lead to jubilant celebrations in Oregon cities like Portland and Eugene. Same-sex couples began marrying at county buildings moments after the ruling was announced.
Judges in Idaho, Oklahoma, Virginia, Michigan, Texas, Utah and Arkansas recently have found state same-sex marriage bans to be unconstitutional. Judges also have ordered Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee to recognize same-sex marriages from other states.
Some have speculated that the 2013 Supreme Court ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act that allowed the resumption of same-sex marriages in California, created a domino effect in the lower courts.