EUGENE, Ore. — The national group wanting Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage to stand was dealt a blow Wednesday by a federal judge in Eugene.
That judge denied a request to let the group intervene in a lawsuit against the ban.
The courtroom inside the federal courthouse was filled as Judge Michael McShane handed down his ruling that the National Organization for Marriage could not step in and defend Oregon’s constitution.
The group says it wanted to defend three members of its group who live in Oregon and would be directly impacted by same-sex marriage becoming legal.
The group talked about an anonymous county clerk, a person who works in the wedding industry, and a voter, who all say their jobs would be affected by the judge’s ruling, but Judge McShane denied their request, saying he can’t know the impact the case would have on these people if they won’t identify themselves.
The judge also said the group had no credible reason for waiting until the last minute to file the countersuit.
John Eastman with the national organization says they will file an appeal, but he’s not sure if Wednesday’s decision will change the minds of its clients who are remaining confidential at this point.
“Part of the reason why I was not able to explain the full measure of our timing here is because of those communications, which are attorney-client privilege. I’m not going to break that thing in order to make a point that I know needs to be made,” Eastman said.
Same-sex marriage supporters and the plaintiffs in the case against the state of Oregon say they’re happy with the judge’s ruling and say this is just one step in the right direction.
Judge McShane also says this is an Oregon case, so national groups don’t have a place in the courtroom. The National Organization for Marriage has 30 days to file an appeal.
Same-sex couples who filed the suit against the state of Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage say they’re happy with the judge’s decision. Before the hearing, couples and their families rallied outside of the courthouse, holding pictures of their families and showing support for their case.
Basic Rights Oregon says the ruling is a victory for them, but they still have a long way to come.
“Our kids have gone through the years of hateful ballot measures and we’ve started to maintain that we are a family and it feels like the state that we love will finally recognize that,” said Chris Tanner, plaintiff in the case.
Some same-sex couples say they’re hoping for a quick ruling from Judge McShane, but others say they’re just hoping he’ll rule in their favor.