National Group Attempts 11th-Hour Intervention In Oregon Gay Marriage Case

By Chris Lehman

A national group that opposes same-sex marriage is trying to intervene in a case scheduled to go before a federal judge in Oregon this week. Gay rights advocates are denouncing the effort.

Oregon voters approved a ban on same-sex marriage a decade ago. U.S. District Judge Michael McShane is set to hear oral arguments to overturn the law on Wednesday in Eugene. The Oregon Department of Justice isn't planning to defend the measure. Now, the National Organization for Marriage says it will instead. Gwynne Skinner teaches law at Willamette University in Salem. She says the Judge has a number of options to deal with the last-minute request.

Gynne Skinner: "He could file a decision very quickly permitting it or not permitting it. Or he could on the bench at 1:30 on Wednesday say he's going to allow them to intervene and delay the arguments. I think that's highly unlikely to happen."

The Oregon ACLU represents some of the plaintiffs in the case. Its executive director, David Fidanque, called the National Organization of Marriage's attempt a "desperation move." Four couples filed suit to overturn Oregon's same-sex marriage ban.

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