“We are of course disappointed with the Ninth Circuit’s decision today. The Ninth Circuit did not reach the appeal of the denial of motion to intervene, holding instead that even if NOM had been allowed to intervene on behalf of its members (including Oregon voters, wedding services providers, and a county clerk), it had no standing to appeal the judgment below even though the elected officials of the state refused to provide any defense of the marriage amendment adopted by a strong majority of Oregonians.
“We believe that the decision conflicts with a prior Ninth Circuit opinion specifically recognizing that a County Clerk with the duty to issue marriage licenses likely would have standing to intervene and appeal an adverse judgment. NOM alleged under oath that it had among its members just such a county clerk, and it sought to intervene on the clerk’s behalf under the Supreme Court’s well-established precedent in the case of NAACP v. Alabama allowing membership organizations to pursue the interests of their members when there are substantial hurdles to the members litigating in their own name, such as the real threats of harassment and violence that have been manifested elsewhere in the country around the marriage issue. Because of that conflict, we will certainly be exploring whether to file a petition for rehearing en banc with the full Ninth Circuit or whether we will seek review in the Supreme Court itself.
“Ultimately, though, NOM remains concerned that a sovereign act of the people of Oregon went entirely undefended by the elected officials of Oregon, an abdication of duty that resulted in the long-standing understanding of marriage in Oregon being rewritten by a single federal court judge. The policy fight over the definition of marriage is something that should ultimately be resolved by the people, not unelected judges. For now, Oregonians have been denied their voice on that important policy issue, and that is truly regrettable.” – Hate group leader Brian Brown, in a press release posted to NOM’s blog.