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Oregon AG Won't Defend Gay Marriage Ban

09-07-2014
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Another Democratic attorney general is refusing to defend a state ban on same-sex marriage. This time it's Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.

Democratic attorneys general in at least five other states have taken the same step, even though their responsibility is to defend state laws in court.

In November 2004, 57 percent of Oregon voters approved a ban on same-sex marriage. But Rosenblum said Oregon's ban cannot withstand a federal constitutional challenge, so she's opposing it.

"State defendants will not defend the Oregon ban on same-sex marriage in this litigation," Rosenblum said in documents filed in federal court Thursday. "Rather, they will take the position ... that the ban cannot withstand a federal constitutional challenge under any standard of review."

Not only is the attorney not defending Oregon's law, last year she joined U.S. Supreme Court briefs arguing it was unconstitutional to deny homosexuals the right to marry.

Conservatives argue the Democratic attorneys general are abdicating their duty.

"(Rosenblum) is shamefully abandoning her constitutional duty to defend the marriage amendment overwhelmingly enacted by the people of Oregon," Brian Brown, president of the National Organization of Marriage, said.

"She swore an oath of office that she would enforce all the laws, not just those she personally agrees with," he said.

Meanwhile, in other states such as Virginia, Utah, Oklahoma, and Kentucky, federal judges have recently voided all or part of voter-approved bans on same-sex marriage. Appeals are pending.

Supporters of traditional marriage have taken the opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to such bans.

Idaho Gov. "Butch" Otter argued in legal filings this week that Idaho's laws banning same-sex marriage are vital to the state's goal of creating "stable, husband-wife unions for the benefit of their children."

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