Challenge to Oregon’s gay marriage ban in court this week

A federal judge will hear two cases Wednesday that aim to strike down
Oregon’s anti-marriage equality law, but no party has stepped in to
defend the voter-approved constitutional amendment.

From The Republic:

Oregon’s attorney general, Democrat Ellen Rosenblum, says the state’s
ban is legally indefensible. Her office filed a lengthy brief urging
judge U.S. District Judge Michael McShane to throw it out. There have
been no legal arguments submitted for upholding the ban.

Federal judges in five states have thrown out
voter-approved bans on same-sex marriage on constitutional grounds since
the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a portion of the federal Defense of
Marriage Act last year, and many other challenges are pending.

For Oregon’s ban, oral arguments are scheduled for Wednesday at U.S. District Court in Eugene.

“The ban on same-sex marriage serves no rational
purpose and harms Oregon citizens,” lawyers for the state wrote. “This
case presents that rare case in which there simply is no legal argument
to be made in support of a state law.”

The U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause
prohibits the government from treating a group of people differently
from others unless there’s sufficient justification that furthers a
legitimate public interest.

In this case, much of the legal analysis
surrounds how high the bar should be for the government to prove it has
an interest in treating gays and lesbians differently with respect to
marriage.

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