Federal judge overturns marriage definition in Oregon constitution

posted at 9:21 am on May 20, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Remember when traditional marriage advocates put their trust in constitutional amendments to keep activist judges from unilaterally imposing a requirement to recognize same-sex marriage? In Oregon, that’s not ancient history; 60% of voters approved the constitutional amendment just ten years ago, when several states did the same thing in response to state courts changing the definition of marriage. The strategy didn’t last, as a federal judge overturned the clause in the state constitution — after the state refused to defend it:

A federal judge threw out Oregon’s same-sex marriage ban Monday, marking the 13th legal victory for gay marriage advocates since the U.S. Supreme Court last year overturned part of a federal ban.

State officials earlier refused to defend Oregon’s voter-approved ban and said they wouldn’t appeal.

The National Organization for Marriage sought to intervene, but both U.S. District Judge Michael McShane in Eugene and a federal appeals court rejected its attempts to argue in favor of the ban.

This is the same situation as Proposition 8 faced in California. In both cases, the state refused to defend a law in federal court despite having been passed by the voters in a fully legal manner. As I wrote last year in the Supreme Court decision on Prop 8, the refusal of the Oregon’s Attorney General to represent the voters of his state is a lot more troublesome than the decision itself:

 The voters in California amended the state constitution by referendum legally, to define a legitimate government policy regarding the recognition of marriage.  The court is making the case that this is a matter for California to settle, not the federal courts, and there is a very good case to make there.  However, the effect of this is to overturn an election whose legality was never in doubt just because some people didn’t like the outcome.  That to me is a more dangerous outcome than a precedent-setting decision on standing.

In this case, the issue was settled by the voters. Oregon voters still had the opportunity to change their definition of government-recognized marriage through the same mechanism of a referendum or legislative action to amend the state constitution themselves, if they changed their mind on the issue. And again in this case, the Attorney General is the people’s lawyer, their legal representative as well as their top law-enforcement officer. If the state’s elected lawyer doesn’t want to represent the people in court, then he or she should resign and let someone else take the job. The people deserved to be represented in court by their paid attorney, whether the AG liked the law or not.

If attorneys argue — correctly — that rapists and murderers deserve a defense, then why should that be denied to the people of Oregon and California?


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 3 4 5

Who knew that social conservatism was predicated on the false belief that 2=3.
 
libfreeordie on May 20, 2014 at 4:53 PM

 
I agree with you 110%.

rogerb on May 20, 2014 at 5:13 PM

Who knew that social conservatism was predicated on the false belief that 2=3.

libfreeordie on May 20, 2014 at 4:53 PM

Since homosexuality is not a choice, I am sure all of you would support finding a cure for this sexual birth defect and eradicate the defect all together?

I mean surely you are not so puerile that all you really care about is redefining normal for your own selfish benefit? Surely you want to end their suffering?

ClassicCon on May 20, 2014 at 5:15 PM

Who knew that social conservatism was predicated on the false belief that 2=3.

libfreeordie on May 20, 2014 at 4:53 PM

I agree with you 110%.

rogerb on May 20, 2014 at 5:13 PM

He’s already admitted that he’s not a numbers guy, just a meatloaf-maker.

slickwillie2001 on May 20, 2014 at 5:30 PM

Geez…

federal judges misusing anti-slavery amendments while ignoring the 10th amendment(Bill of Rights).

Big time fail.

b1jetmech on May 20, 2014 at 5:45 PM

Remove the union between the two sexes, and there is no reason why marriage should particularly be between two people. There’s no real difference between a ‘marriage’ of two men and a ‘marriage’ of three men.

Who knew that social conservatism was predicated on the false belief that 2=3.

libfreeordie on May 20, 2014 at 4:53 PM

It’s amusing that you think you made some kind of point here. Little slow?

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 20, 2014 at 5:03 PM

I’m feeling a little guilty for picking on you now. I’ll give you a hint. If you can answer this question, then you might get the point.

What makes two people the correct number of people to be able to get married, but three people the incorrect number of people to be able to get married?

(I used small words for your benefit.)

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 20, 2014 at 6:00 PM

Remove the union between the two sexes, and there is no reason why marriage should particularly be between two people. There’s no real difference between a ‘marriage’ of two men and a ‘marriage’ of three men.

Who knew that social conservatism was predicated on the false belief that 2=3.

libfreeordie on May 20, 2014 at 4:53 PM

It’s amusing that you think you made some kind of point here. Little slow?

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 20, 2014 at 5:03 PM

I’m feeling a little guilty for picking on you now. I’ll give you a hint. If you can answer this question, then you might get the point.

What makes two people the correct number of people to be able to get married, but three people the incorrect number of people to be able to get married?

(I used small words for your benefit.)

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 20, 2014 at 6:00 PM

Take your time, by the way. No need to answer within 10 minutes…..

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 20, 2014 at 6:03 PM

I read these threads. I make a comment or two. One thing I have observed about all of the gay marriage threads is that many of you haven’t a correct definition of marriage in the first place, i.e. false premise. Its why you revert to platitudes such as love and happiness. You don’t know the true definition of marriage and why it was created or who it was created for in the first instance. You badly want something which doesn’t fit your makeup. You want its very meaning changed to suit your needs. I find it odd so many wish to have something for which they can never truly be a part of. Of course this kind of dishonesty is why the definition of marriage must be changed. To suit you. Let it sink in. Actually consider the irony for you of desiring something you aren’t designed or fit for. Hint, it has so very little to do with religion. More to do with law and protection. Tell me when you have thought it through. Tell me what marriage is for.

Bmore on May 20, 2014 at 6:30 PM

Marriage = slavery to the state? Well we’ve come full circle. It started with the radical lesbian feminists calling marriage a form of slavery and now social conservatives agree. Ha! libfreeordie on May 20, 2014 at 3:19 PM

They got it from Marx and Lenin.

Akzed on May 20, 2014 at 6:47 PM

He’s already admitted that he’s not a numbers guy, just a meatloaf-maker. slickwillie2001 on May 20, 2014 at 5:30 PM

Huh. I always thought he was more of a fudge packer.

Akzed on May 20, 2014 at 6:49 PM

Take your time, by the way. No need to answer within 10 minutes…..

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 20, 2014 at 6:03 PM

You will likely still be waiting for an answer 10 months from now. In line behind NotCoach, and who knows how many others.

Once upon a time it said some vile things about the author of a ‘Headlines’ article. The author came here and offered to discuss it. It ran away. The pet troll is a coward.

The pet troll is here to drive up hits and that is all. And it is too stupid to know it is being used for that purpose.

farsighted on May 20, 2014 at 7:41 PM

So many radical activist judges overruling the will of the people. Pretty freaking tired of it

sadsushi on May 20, 2014 at 7:53 PM

A couple points that were missed in this story.

1. This is a brand new federal judge and this is his first ruling.

2. This novas federal judge is openly gay.

Far be it for me to question his ruling! I live in Oregon and voted not for a ban on gay marriage as the MSM reports. The constitutional amendment that 57% of my fellow citizens and I voted for was a definition of marriage in the state of Oregon would be a union between a man and a woman. I know that is a radical idea. I also know that “Consent of the Governed” along with most of the U.S. Constitution is now null and void.

BHO on May 20, 2014 at 8:44 PM

If marriage is for procreation, then why are sterile straight people allowed to marry?
Presumably it’s because sterile straight people are more than capable of love and devotion to one another. The nature of their relationship, and their desire to be united in the eyes of the law, is a sufficient legal basis for marriage.

jbennett on May 20, 2014 at 10:21 PM

This ruling has actually changed nothing.

The people that considered marriage as being between a man and a woman still think so.

The people that have religious objections to homosexuality still have them.

The people that thought they were protected by the Constitution know that they’re not.

But they can’t change what we believe or what we think.

schmuck281 on May 21, 2014 at 1:25 AM

No equality without polyquality.

Moron Labe on May 21, 2014 at 2:50 AM

Why even have State governments? Would save a LOT of $$ in elections, run-offs and such. Obviously, they aren’t even needed these days. Fuddy-duddy Constitution.

avagreen on May 21, 2014 at 7:21 AM

If marriage is for procreation, then why are sterile straight people allowed to marry?
Presumably it’s because sterile straight people are more than capable of love and devotion to one another. The nature of their relationship, and their desire to be united in the eyes of the law, is a sufficient legal basis for marriage.
jbennett on May 20, 2014 at 10:21 PM

Because at one time women couldn’t have a decent means of support without a man providing.

Marriage was, in that respect, forced on women and sparked the feminist movement.

Take that away and the requirement for procreation and…

Well you tell me… Why do you need government to make your love “real”?

Skywise on May 21, 2014 at 10:21 AM

Why even have State governments? Would save a LOT of $$ in elections, run-offs and such. Obviously, they aren’t even needed these days. Fuddy-duddy Constitution.
avagreen on May 21, 2014 at 7:21 AM

Why even have a democracy when we can just have our betters tell us what to do and how to live?

Skywise on May 21, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Where is it permitted in the US Constitution where a federal judge can negate an amendment in a state constitution, I’ll answer that no where. And for any naysayers on this post the US constitution and its amendments are a limitation on the federal government and not in any way an impact on state governments with the sole exception of those powers not specifically stated in the US constitution are reserved to the states, we have literally turned our republic on its head.

take responsibility on May 21, 2014 at 12:02 PM

I do love how you say, “it’s an issue for the voters in Oregon. Which way do you think they will come down?”

The voters in Oregon already said which way they come down, to the extent of amending their state constitution, and it was against the sham of same-sex-marriage. Now you want to act like it’s all some unresolved question that could go either way. Which shows your referral to it as “an issue for the voters in Oregon” to be false.

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 20, 2014 at 1:43 PM

Seriously? Do you seriously think that in deep blue Oregon the AG is even remotely risking her political life? Do you seriously think that in Oregon, the voters will attempt to reinstate the SSM ban?

If this was Idaho, or Utah it would be totally different. I have no doubt the AG would be recalled ASAP, and the State Legislature would reinstate the ban or force an appeal before the end of the month.

My point is, it’s not like there aren’t checks on the AG’s power. Make no mistake, this is what the voters in Oregon want if they don’t exercise those checks. Yeah, they wanted something else 10 years ago, but times have changed.

Seamus on May 21, 2014 at 5:17 PM

f****** f******

Murphy9 on May 22, 2014 at 8:48 AM

Comment pages: 1 3 4 5