OREGON: Judge To Hear Arguments On NOM’s Motion To Intervene On Wednesday

On Wednesday, openly gay U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane will hear oral arguments on NOM’s motion to intervene in Oregon’s marriage case. This weekend NOM chairman John Eastman filed a brief in which he blasts Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum for “dereliction of duty” for her refusal to defend the state’s marriage ban.

The NOM brief said that while Rosenblum made clear on Feb. 20 that she wouldn’t defend the law, it wasn’t until March 18 “that the full depth of her dereliction of duty became apparent.” That’s when Rosenblum said in a brief that McShane should apply a tough “heightened scrutiny” standard, used in cases involving fundamental rights, to passing judgment on Oregon’s same-sex marriage ban, NOM said. The organization also charged that Rosenblum “disparagingly characterized Oregon’s citizens who voted in favor of Oregon’s marriage amendment” when she said those voters wanted to “to enshrine in the state constitution a belief that same-sex couples are disfavored.”

NOM said its concern about intervening was also heightened in April when it learned that State Registrar Jennifer Woodward had notified county clerks that the state was ready to immediately provide new forms recognizing same-sex marriage if the judge struck down Oregon’s ban. “The scheme to accelerate the implementation of the assumed outcome of this collusive lawsuit confirms the imperative that an adversarial intervention is required,” NOM wrote. The marriage group is seeking to intervene on behalf of NOM members who are a county clerk in Oregon, people involved in the wedding business and voters who approved Measure 36.

NOM has refused to identify its Oregon members on whose behalf they are seeking to intervene. Because those members “fear reprisals.” Courts tend to take a dim view of anonymous litigants. 

Read NOM’s brief in full.