U.S. District Judge Michael McShane struck down Oregon’s constitutional ban on same-sex marrige today, saying that the ban unconstitutionally discriminates against same-sex couples and ordering ordered the state not to enforce the ban. In his decision, McShane wrote:
My decision will not be the final word on this subject, but on this issue of marriage I am struck more by our similarities than our differences. I believe that if we can look for a moment past gender and sexuality, we can see in these plaintiffs nothing more or less than our ownfamilies. Families who we would expect our Constitution to protect, if not exalt, in equal measure.
With discernment we see not shadows lurking in closets or the stereotypes of what was once believed; rather, we see families committed to the common purpose of love, devotion, and service to the greater community.
Where will this all lead? I know that many suggest we are going down a slippery slope that will have no moral boundaries. To those who truly harbor such fears, I can only say this: Let us look less to the sky to see what might fall; rather, let us look to each other … and rise.
McShane joined judges in seven other states who have struck down gay marriage bans, though appeals are underway in many of those states. Oregon is slightly different in that Democratic Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum refused to defend the ban in court, saying there are no legal arguments that could support it in light of decisions last year by the U.S. Supreme Court. Oregon state officials have said they’d be prepared to carry out same-sex marriages almost immediately.
McShane earlier denied a request by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to defend the law on behalf of its Oregon members. A panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday refused the group’s request for an emergency stay of that decision, allowing same-sex marriages to proceed.