Judge denies NOM’s request to postpone hearing in Ore. gay marriage challenge

U.S. District Judge Michael McShane Staff Reports

EUGENE, Ore. — A federal judge in Oregon said Tuesday he would not postpone a long-scheduled hearing challenging the state’s same-sex marriage ban to accommodate an eleventh hour request by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to intervene in the suit and defend the ban.

U.S. District Judge Michael McShane

U.S. District Judge Michael McShane

U.S. District Judge Michael McShane said he would hear oral arguments on May 14 to consider NOM’s motion to intervene, but would proceed with Wednesday’s hearing on whether Oregon’s constitutional ban violates federal equal-rights protections for gay and lesbian couples, according to The Oregonian.

The NOM is seeking legal standing in the case because Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has declined to defend the ban, saying it “cannot withstand a federal constitutional challenge under any standard of review.”

NOM chairman John Eastman said it is wrong that a challenge to Oregon’s marriage law would go forward without a meaningful defense. His group filed a motion to intervene on Monday, less than 48 hours prior to the hearing, which has been scheduled since January.

McShane said he would not rule on constitutionality of the ban until at least May 14, when he considers NOM’s motion to intervene.

If McShane allows the NOM to intervene, he would schedule a second briefing on whether to issue a summary judgement or set the matter for trial. Currently, both plaintiffs and defendants in the case are asking the court to rule based solely on the legal issues presented in the complaint and their briefs.

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Eastman said his group has not decided yet whether to ask McShane to recuse himself from hearing the case.

Eastman has argued that McShane has a potential conflict of interest because he is in a same-sex relationship with another man and is raising a child with him.

McShane is one of just nine openly gay members of the federal judiciary, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

Follow this case: Geiger v. Kitzhaber.

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