The state of Oregon has joined Virginia and Nevada in refusing to defend the constitutionality of its ban on same-sex marriage. In a filing with the U.S. District Court, Oregon’s attorney general and solicitor general told the court that they will continue to enforce the ban, but not defend it.
State officials in Oregon notified a federal court on Thursday that they will no longer defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, following similar switches by state officials in Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The Oregon filing came in one of two consolidated cases in Eugene challenging the state ban, which was imposed by voters in 2004…
The key statement in the new Oregon document, which was in the form of an answer to one of the lawsuits, said state officials “will not defend the Oregon ban on same-sex marriage in this litigation. Rather, they will take the position in their summary judgment briefing that the ban cannot withstand a federal constitutional challenge under any standard of review.” The paragraph added, though, that they would continue to enforce the ban as a legal duty unless and until it were struck down in court. Officials had not made that statement in their response in December to the other case in the pair that are now being considered together.
State Defendants will not defend the Oregon ban on same-sex marriage in this litigation. Rather, they will take the position in their summary judgment briefing that the ban cannot withstand a federal constitutional challenge under any standard of review. In the meantime, as the State Defendants are legally obligated to enforce the Oregon Constitution’s ban on same-sex marriage, they will continue to do so unless and until this Court grants the relief sought by the plaintiffs.
I’m sensing a trend.