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5/14/2014 2:06:00 PM
Same-sex marriage lawsuit intervention thwarted
Compiled from news services

EUGENE — U.S. District Judge Michael McShane has rejected an attempt to intervene in a lawsuit seeking to repeal Oregon's constitutional marriage amendment, defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

The National Organization for Marriage filed the attempt to intervene. Now, all official parties in the case will argue that Oregon's prohibition violates the federal equal protection of rights of same sex couples seeking to marry.

Officials of the National Organization for Marriage said they will appeal the judge's order to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and attempt to win a stay halting Judge McShane from taking further action.

After the hearing, Judge McShane ruled that the National Organization for Marriage was unreasonably late in filing its request. He also said that the group couldn't simply seek to intervene in the place of the attorney general to defend the law.

The judge also said the Washington, D.C.-based group didn't make its case that it should be allowed to intervene on behalf of three anonymous Oregon members of the National Organization for Marriage: a county clerk who issues marriage licenses, a wedding provider and a voter who supported the 2004 constitutional amendment defining marriage between a man and a woman.

The judge said the organization made no attempt to provide information to the judge that would allow him to assess any harm to their members if same-sex couples are allowed to marry in Oregon.

McShane, one of the few openly gay judges on the federal bench, also went to lengths to explain that he could serve without bias in the case.

The National Organization for Marriage had raised questions about whether the judge should recuse himself from the case. Judge McShane said he wouldn't do that, explaining that he had never attended any political events supporting same-sex marriage and that the subject had little legal or personal interest to him.

The judge admitted to attending a legal seminar at the University of Oregon discussing the U.S. Supreme Court's Windsor decision — which has been the basis of the recent federal court rulings against same-sex marriage bans. But he said he left when a participant began trying to sign up supporters to help on the same-sex marriage initiative.

Related Stories:
• Attorney general silencing Oregonians, says Oregon Catholic Conference
• Catholic Conference weighs in on same-sex marriage hearing

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