Rosenblum declines to argue marriage case; Oregon United pushes "pause" on campaign

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

Yesterday, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced that she would not defend the Oregon Constitution's discriminatory "one man, one woman" marriage clause in federal court.

The Department of Justice has determined that "the ban cannot withstand a federal constitutional challenge under any standard of review." In short, the marriage ban is indefensible.

The Oregon United for Marriage campaign reacted as you might expect -- they're thrilled! After all, it means that it's likely that Oregon's marriage ban will be struck down long before election day in November.

As a result, Oregon United announced that they're pausing their campaign. Specifically that they have "decided to hold on to our signatures" to qualify the ballot measure.

It's unclear to me why they'd do that. After all, it's entirely plausible that the Supreme Court could rule that all these federal judges overturning marriage bans are going too far, that states have the right to determine their own marriage laws. Were that to happen, Oregon's constitutional ban would be right back in effect.

Seems to me that having come this far, the campaign should keep on trucking to the finish line. Sure, it might ultimately be legally a moot issue -- but giving Oregonians the chance to affirmatively vote down our marriage ban would be a strong statement in favor of equality.

Then again, maybe we're reading too much into Oregon United's announcement. It certainly seems reasonable to stop, catch one's breath, and take stock of the situation. But having done that, it seems clear to me that the right answer is to keep on moving forward.

I've reached out to Oregon United for additional info.

No word on how quickly Judge Michael McShane will move ahead with a decision. At this time, oral arguments are scheduled for April 23.


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