Supreme Court allows judge’s ruling striking down Oregon’s marriage protection amendment to stand
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 21, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Days before it will hear a pivotal case on whether states can preserve the historical definition of marriage in America, the Supreme Court allowed a judge's ruling striking down the voters' will in Oregon to stand.
Last May, openly gay judge Michael McShane ruled that the state's constitutional amendment in favor of marriage violated the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. “Oregon's marriage laws discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation without a rational relationship to any legitimate government interest,” wrote McShane, who said that the state's law violate the “Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution."
Additionally, McShane's decision declared that such laws are “clearly unrelated to protecting children and encouraging stable families” and “leave the plaintiffs and their families feeling degraded, humiliated, and stigmatized."
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) appealed the ruling all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, but was told this week that it lacked legal standing to defend the law.
NOM took on the job of appealing to the Supreme Court after McShane's decision – which took effect immediately – was not challenged by Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.
Rosenblum had previously said in a brief that she would not defend Oregon's marriage law if it was challenged in court. According to Rosenblum, the state's amendment “cannot withstand a federal constitutional challenge under any standard of review.”
Rosenblum said that her office was "legally obligated to enforce the Oregon Constitution's ban on same-sex marriage." However, she refused to appeal McShane's ruling, which led to NOM taking up the fight on behalf of the state's voters.
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The Supreme Court is hearing cases from four states – Michican, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee – on April 28. The hearing could lead to a definitive legal ruling from the nation's highest court. One of the big questions the High Court may choose to answer is whether states are allowed to independently define marriage, which could allow Oregon's law to stand.