Oregon Advocates Push Judge for May Ruling on Gay Marriage Ban

Backers of the ballot campaign to legalize gay marriage in Oregon filed a brief on Tuesday urging a federal judge to make a speedy ruling in a case challenging the state's ban, The Oregonian reports:

McshaneOregon United for Marriage told U.S. District Judge Michael McShane in a legal filing that it would not go ahead with its ballot measure if he strikes down Oregon's prohibition on same-sex marriage by May 23.

"A timely decision from the Court could render the Initiative unnecessary and spare all Oregonians the cost, expense and emotional strain of a difficult election fight," Oregon United said in an amicus brief filed in federal court.

The campaign said it has collected 160,000 signatures — far more than 116,284 valid signatures of Oregon voters needed to qualify for the November ballot.  But it says it won't submit them to the secretary of state if same-sex marriage can come to Oregon through legal action.

OregonIn related news, 36 Oregon employers filed a brief before the court opposing the state's ban, the Register-Guard reports:

“To attract and retain the best talent, we believe we need laws that promote diversity and inclusion, that treat all Oregonians equally and that prevent discrimination,” Nike’s general counsel, Hilary Krane, said on behalf of the coalition.

Companies signing the legal brief said the ban forces them “to involutarily become the face of discrimination based on sexual orientation when they are forced to administer benefits differently for employees with a same-sex spouse in order to comply with Oregon law (e.g., income tax law). That imposes additional confusion, costs, and administrative burdens, which further harm Oregon businesses and their employees.”

Employers signing the brief include Nike, the University of Oregon, the Portland Timbers, Autodesk; Celilo Group Media, Inc.; Christopher David Experience Design; Columbia Sportswear Company; EDJE Consulting; Gard Communications; Gerding Edlen; HM3 Energy, Inc.; Intel Corporation; Jubitz Family Foundation; Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.; Medford Fabrication; Moda Health; Morel Ink; Neil Kelly Company; Northwest Evaluation Association; NW Natural; Oregon Business Association; Oregon Health & Science University; Oregon State University; PECI; Portland General Electric Company; Portland Public Schools; Portland State University; Powell’s Books; Russell Development Company; salesforce.com, Inc.; Standard Insurance Company; Starbucks Coffee Company; Portland Business Alliance; Tonkon Torp; Torpet LLC; and Weinstein PR.


  1. Ken says

    I wish they’d go ahead with the ballot measure either way, you know any court decision will be stayed until after the appeals process and the is no guarantee the appeals will go our way. Why do we want to limit our options? I still believe the fastest way to get marriage equality in Oregon is the ballot measure. And beating the bigots at their own game would be fun too.

  2. Bob says

    One of the reasons I’m glad I’m leaving Oregon is that nobody here is ever wrong.
    The lesbian run marriage campaign messed up terribly and should have piggy bac ked with Washington in 2012

  3. Ken says

    They will find someone to defend it, some clerk like happened in Virginia. We all thought marriage would be legal in Virginia when both the AG and Governor said they would not defend the ban, yet it is still not legal. The ballot measure is the best way to get this done once and for all.

  4. jamal49 says

    @SEANNY Perhaps. But that does not mean that any other group could not attempt to get a stay on the judge’s ruling if it were to overturn the state’s ban. Our enemies have deep pockets and will not give up. Ever.

  5. Charles says

    I’d also rather see it go on the ballot. Overturning Measure 36 (from 2004) would be more satisfying, and would be a definitive slap in the face to the haters. Still, I can understand the reasons for asking for a court ruling.

  6. seanny says

    @Ken – Unlike OR, the VA marriage suit has been specifically crafted to reach the U.S. Supreme Ct. I suspect (although I have zero proof) that the sole county clerk that is defending the ban is doing so to help our side also get this case in front of the justices asap.

    @Jamal49 – Whoever steps in to defend OR’s marriage must be a state representative whose duty it is to enforce marriage laws i.e. governor, state D.A., the legislature or a county clerk’s office. This is what the SC mandated in the Prop 8 ruling. Could an anti-gay organization like the Alliance Defense Fund recruit a state official to take up the band and then petition to intervene at the appellate level? Sure, but the chances of something like this happening is much lower in a blue state like OR.

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