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Group asks Supreme Court to block Oregon's same-sex marriage ruling

The National Organization for Marriage on Tuesday asked U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy to stay the May 19 federal court decision that cleared the way for same-sex marriage in Oregon.

The national group, which was rejected in its attempt to defend Oregon’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in a May 14 U.S. District Court hearing, reported on its website that would ask Justice Kennedy to either block McShane’s ruling or refer the decision to the full Supreme Court.

“We are asking Justice Kennedy and the U.S. Supreme Court to take the step of staying the decision of Judge McShane so that NOM can pursue its request to intervene in the case in order to mount a defense of the people’s vote for marriage,” said John Eastman, the organization’s chairman and director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence at The Claremont Institute. “This case is an ugly spectacle of the state refusing to defend the sovereign act of its voters to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman and instead working jointly with the plaintiffs to redefine marriage.”

Amy Ruiz of Oregon United for Marriage, the group gathering signatures for an initiative challenge to the state same-sex marriage ban, said Tuesday that the National Organization for Marriage challenge was a "last-ditch attempt to keep loving Oregon families from sharing in the freedom to marry."

"Just as they did last week, the legal team will vigorously defend against NOM’s latest scare tactic," said Ruiz, Oregon United for Marriage's deputy campaign manager. "Love is the law in Oregon. And try as they might, the National Organization for Marriage cannot and will not take that away."

The national group attempted to intervene in the case on behalf of a county clerk, voters who supported the 2004 ballot measure that set the ban in the state constitution and someone in the wedding industry. The National Organization for Marriage has about 100 members in Oregon and wanted to intervene because state Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum decided against defending the state ban because she said it would not pass constitutional muster after the U.S. Supreme Court 2013 decision nullifying parts of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

“In Oregon, not only do we have a single trial court judge imposing his own opinion and invalidating the votes of the overwhelming majority of Oregon voters, but the case involves the state attorney general refusing to even mount a defense of the people’s decision,” Eastman said. “This should be very troubling to Justice Kennedy.

“NOM believes it has a strong legal right to intervene in this case in order to mount a defense of Oregon’s marriage amendment. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will allow us to defend the decision of Oregon’s electorate to define marriage as one man and one woman.”

McShane’s 26-page ruling issued at noon May 19 set off more than 12 hours of same-sex marriage ceremonies across the state. In Multnomah County, marriages were performed by Mayor Charlie Hales and other officials at the Melody Ballroom, which was rented for the event.

On May 14, McShane rejected the National Organization for Marriage’s intervention, saying the group had not standing in the case.

Oregon is one of 19 states that allow same-sex marriage.