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Judge To Rule On Oregon Same-Sex Marriage Ban Monday

OPB | May 16, 2014 1:17 p.m. | Updated: May 19, 2014 8:35 a.m. | Portland

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U.S. District Judge Michael McShane notified the court earlier this afternoon that he is prepared to make a ruling on Oregon’s same-sex marriage ban Monday at noon.

The ruling comes after four same-sex couples challenged Ballot Measure 36, which amended the Oregon Constitution in 2004 to say “only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or legally recognized as a marriage.”

In February, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said she would not defend the ban, leaving the ban undefended until a national anti-same-sex marriage group, National Organization for Marriage, requested to delay the first hearing and to intervene in April. 

McShane denied the delay, and earlier this week, rejected NOM’s request to intervene on the case to represent those Oregonians in support of the ban.

“We are disappointed in the ruling today denying the National Organization for Marriage the ability to intervene in this case,” NOM chairman John Eastman said in a statement Wednesday. “We believe that our members in the state and the people of Oregon are entitled to a vigorous defense of the marriage amendment adopted overwhelmingly by Oregon voters.”

NOM plans to appeal the ruling with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse the decision.

If McShane rules to strike down the ban, the Oregon State Registrar will send paper forms to county marriage offices via same day delivery and will make the electronic marriage forms available. Oregon Public Health Division spokesperson Jonathan Modie says that 34 of Oregon’s 36 counties support electronic submissions.

However, McShane will decide when the forms will go into effect, which could be the same day as the ruling or later to give counties time to prepare.

The registrar’s website also says that if a same-sex couple was married in Oregon in 2004, the marriages will “remain voided.”

Oregon United for Marriage is planning for events for the day of the ruling, but doesn’t have anything concrete as of Friday afternoon.

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