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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 16 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 20
NOM admits it represents no one in Oregon suit - Judge throws them out of court
Section One
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NOM admits it represents no one in Oregon suit - Judge throws them out of court

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

U.S. District Judge Michael McShane ruled on May 14 that NOM (the National Organization for Marriage) may not intervene in the lawsuit challenging Oregon's ban on same-sex marriages.

The judge then met in chambers with attorneys for the plaintiffs who asked him to give 24 hours notice when he intends to render his decision in the cases, so that county officials could be prepared to begin marrying Gay and Lesbian couples.

According to OregonLive blog, 'The judge offered no signal on whether he would agree to that, or when he might rule in the broader case. If he does decide to overturn Oregon's prohibition, he could let gay weddings proceed immediately, or he could stay any weddings pending appeals.'



McShane heard oral arguments in two consolidated federal lawsuits challenging Oregon's marriage ban in April.

At that time, NOM filed a petition to intervene in the suit in order to defend Oregon law, because Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said she agrees that the law is unconstitutional, and she would not defend it in court.

U.S. District Judge Michael McShane promised to hold a hearing on NOM's request to intervene, but the group was unable to show legal standing. In other words, NOM could not show that it had any stake in the outcome, apart from their well-known opposition to any same-sex marriage anywhere.

Consequently, court documents say, NOM set out to find Oregon residents who would allow the group to use their names as intervenors in the suit. Not a single person stepped forward to do so, however.

A brief filed by NOM on May 9 admits the anti-Gay group can find no one who wants to back their intervention in the case.

The document states that NOM 'began trying to identify someone who had both the necessary standing to intervene and the willingness to do so in the face of real concerns about threats and reprisals...

'A couple of weeks before the scheduled hearing on the motions for summary judgment, NOM's counsel met with or spoke by phone with the representatives of one or more such businesses and also with one or more county clerks, all of whom expressed strong interest in intervening in the matter, but also grave concerns about possible threats, harassment, and retaliation should they do so.

'Ultimately, the potential intervenors advised NOM's counsel that the risks were just too great to intervene in their own names.'



NOM insisted it had the right to intervene on behalf of anonymous Oregon residents. Since NOM was unable to find any one to lend their names to the group's intervention, their May 9 brief asked that it, 'as a membership organization, intervene on behalf of its [anonymous] members.'

NOM said it would appeal McShane's rejection of that argument to the Ninth Circuit Court.

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