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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 21 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 08
Oregon AG won't defend Gay marriage ban
Section One
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Oregon AG won't defend Gay marriage ban

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum will not defend her state's law banning same-sex marriages, she said in a February 20 court filing.

The law 'cannot withstand a federal constitutional challenge under any standard of review,' she wrote.

Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto recently withdrew her brief defending Nevada's ban on Gay and Lesbian marriage after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals - which has jurisdiction over four western states including Nevada and Oregon - ruled that laws discriminating against LGBT people must be examined with 'heightened scrutiny.'

Rosenblum's filing goes even further, implying that laws against same-sex marriage could not withstand even 'rational basis review' - the lowest standard of judicial review, which requires only that the law be based on some rational basis and not on out-and-out prejudice or animus.

Rosenblum's announcement affects two lawsuits brought against the state of Oregon in federal court, Geiger v. Kitzhaber, and Rummell v. Kitzhaber. Both suits were filed last year, and name Nevada Governor John Kitzhaber as the defendant.

'State defendants admit that performing same-sex marriages in Oregon would have no adverse effect on existing marriages, and that sexual orientation does not determine an individual's capacity to establish a loving and enduring relationship,' Rosenblum wrote in her filing.

In addition to Rosenblum and Masto, Attorneys General Kamala Harris of California, Mark Herring of Virginia, Lisa Madigan of Illinois, and Kathleen Kane of Pennsylvania have said they will not uphold the constitutionality of their states' same-sex marriage bans.

All are Democrats.

Litigation challenging state bans on Gay and Lesbian marriage has spiked since the U.S. Supreme Court's June 2013 decision invalidating DOMA. Since then, four courts have overturned state bans on same-sex unions. Three of those decisions are on hold pending appeal.

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