The federal judge in Oregon’s marriage equality lawsuit said he plans to issue an opinion at noon on Monday.
If judge Michael McShane strikes down Oregon’s law excluding same-sex couples from marriage, all loving and committed couples in Oregon could be granted the freedom to marry.
“We don't know which way the judge will rule, but we are hopeful that Oregon is on the verge of making history—and that by next week, all of Oregon's loving, committed couples will be able to wed in our state,” said Amy Ruiz, deputy campaign manager for Oregon United for Marriage.
Oregon United for Marriage launched a “Decision Day Resource Page” last week, for Oregonians anticipating the ruling.
On April 23, Judge McShane heard arguments on motions for summary judgment in the case. On Wednesday May 17 the Judge heard oral arguments from the National Organization for Marriage, which filed their motion to intervene in the case at 11:04 p.m. two days before oral arguments.
So far, more than a dozen judges have ruled for the freedom to marry since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down key parts of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act last year. Once Oregon wins marriage equality, Multnomah County has said that it plans to start issuing licenses right away to gay and lesbian couples.
BACKGROUND ON THE CASES:
Attorneys filed two lawsuits last year in the federal court in Eugene to challenge laws that exclude same-sex couples from marriage in Oregon. In October, attorneys Lake Perriguey and Lea Ann Easton filed the first case, Geiger v. Kitzhaber, on behalf of two couples. In December, staff attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Oregon, and volunteer counsel Misha Isaak and Tom Johnson of Perkins Coie, LLP, and Jennifer Middleton of Johnson, Johnson & Schaller, PC, filed a second case, Rummell v. Kitzhaber, on behalf of two same-sex couples who wish to marry in Oregon and Basic Rights Education Fund. In January, the judge, Michael McShane, consolidated the two cases.
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced in February that Measure 36 is indefensible. “Sexual orientation does not determine an individual’s capacity to establish a loving and enduring relationship,” she wrote in a brief filed with the court. “The ban cannot withstand a federal constitutional challenge under any standard of review.”
The National Organization for Marriage in Washington D.C. filed a motion to intervene in the case, and now the judge is hearing arguments about how to rule.