Federal Judge to Hear Gay Marriage Case

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EUGENE, Ore. — A 10-year-old law heads to a federal courtroom on Wednesday. A judge in Eugene will hear one-sided arguments on Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Four gay and lesbian couples filed suit, asking a judge to declare the ban unconstitutional and allow same-sex couples to wed.

Judge Michael McShane will only hear arguments from the side in favor of gay marriage, because the state has declined to defend the ban. A national group opposed to gay marriage is seeking permission to do so later.

There are different paths McShane could take. First, he could say no to the same-sex couples, who have filed a lawsuit against the state. In that case, they would probably appeal and the issue would appear on the November ballot. If Judge McShane said yes to those couples, it would allow same-sex marriages to start right away.

He could also rule in favor of gay marriage, and then put a stay on it to see what happens in other states first.

The state attorney general Ellen Rosenblum announced that she believes the ban on same-sex marriage should be overturned. Oral arguments begin at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at Eugene’s federal courthouse. 

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