cloudy
Wednesday July 1st, 2015 8:52PM

Ruling expected on Oregon gay marriage ban

By The Associated Press
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - A federal judge was expected to make Oregon the latest state to allow gay marriage Monday after state officials refused to defend its constitutional ban in court.

Gay couples were poised to tie the knot immediately, but a national group opposed to same-sex marriage asked an appeals court to block them.

Officials in Oregon's largest county, Multnomah, say they'll begin issuing marriage licenses immediately if U.S. District Judge Michael McShane's decision allows it.

McShane hasn't signaled how he'll rule, but both sides in the case have asked that the voter-approved ban be found unconstitutional.

The judge last week denied a request by the National Organization for Marriage to defend the law on behalf of its Oregon members. On Monday morning, the group appealed that denial to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, seeking an emergency stay of the decision.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia allow gay marriage. Federal or state judges in Idaho, Oklahoma, Virginia, Michigan, Texas, Utah and Arkansas recently have found state same-sex marriage bans to be unconstitutional. Judges also have ordered Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee to recognize same-sex marriages from other states.

But opposition remains stiff in many places. Critics point out that most states still do not allow gay marriage and that in most that do, it was the work of courts or legislatures, not the people.

Four gay and lesbian couples brought the Oregon cases, arguing the state's marriage laws unconstitutionally discriminate against them and exclude them from a fundamental right to marriage.

In refusing to defend the ban, Democratic Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said there were no legal arguments that could support it in light of decisions last year by the U.S. Supreme Court. She sided with the couples, asking the judge to overturn the ban.

Gay rights groups previously said they've collected enough signatures to force a statewide vote on gay marriage in November. But they said they would discard the signatures and drop their campaign if the court rules in their favor by May 23.

The Supreme Court last year struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which barred the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage. It determined the law improperly deprived gay couples of due process.

Oregon law has long prohibited gay marriage, and voters added the ban to the state constitution in 2004. The decision, approved by 57 percent of voters, came months after Multnomah County briefly issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

About 3,000 gay couples were allowed to marry before a judge halted the practice. The Oregon Supreme Court later invalidated the marriages.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 6 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 6 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 6 months ago )
U.S. News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 6 months ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 6 months ago )
Local/State News
Committee leaves transportation funding to lawmakers
Georgia will have to cover a $1 billion to $1.5 billion transportation funding gap to stay economically competitive, a committee of lawmakers is warning in a report issued Tuesday.
5:36AM ( 6 months ago )
US off war footing at year's end, but wars go on
Taking America off a permanent war footing is proving harder than President Barack Obama may have suggested.
6:13PM ( 6 months ago )
GOP leader regrets talk to white supremacists; party leaders rally around him
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
6:08PM ( 6 months ago )
Politics
Episcopalians vote to allow gay marriage in churches
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Episcopalians overwhelmingly voted Wednesday to allow religious weddings for same-sex couples, solidifying the church's embrace of gay rights that began more than a decade ago wi...
8:22PM ( 30 minutes ago )
As SC fire investigated, stats show church fires not unusual
GREELEYVILLE, S.C. (AP) — The Rev. John Taylor feared the worst when he learned his church was on fire, only days after a mass shooting at a black church in Charleston prompted Southern leaders to cal...
6:29PM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Cuba embassy plan riles Republican hopefuls
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and Cuba will open embassies in their capital cities after more than 50 years of hostilities between the two countries. The latest developments (all times local):__...
4:46PM ( 4 hours ago )
Emails show top officials aware of Clinton's private address
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senior Obama administration officials, including the White House chief of staff, knew as early as 2009 that Hillary Rodham Clinton was using a private email address for her governmen...
4:25PM ( 4 hours ago )
Tennessee store owner replaces 'No Gays Allowed' sign
RUTLEDGE, Tenn. (AP) — An East Tennessee hardware store owner who put up a "No Gays Allowed" sign in response to the Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex marriage says he decided to take a "bold"...
12:07PM ( 8 hours ago )