US: NOM ‘very pleased’ judge will hear its request to defend equal marriage ban

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The National Organisation for Marriage is ‘very pleased’ an Oregon judge will hear its request to defend the state’s same-sex marriage ban, despite hearing the opening arguments for overturning the ban unopposed.

In February, Oregon’s Attorney General, Ellen Rosenblum had declined to defend the ban in the case, arguing that it would not stand up to a constitutional challenge.

This left the bid to overturn it unopposed, until this week the National Organisation for Marriage filed for permission to defend the ban, just a day before it was scheduled to appear in court.

Despite the group’s attempt to intervene, Judge Michael McShane opted to go ahead with the case yesterday, and heard unopposed arguments in favour of overturning the ban.

However, he did not dismiss their motion, and has said he will not rule on the case as a whole until he has considered the request from NOM to defend the ban, which he will consider next month.

A statement from NOM president Brian Brown said: “We’re very pleased that the judge has agreed to hear us out! On May 14th, we get to make our argument before the court! And we look forward to mounting a vigorous defense of traditional marriage.

“In a hearing earlier this week, all participants — two sets of plaintiffs and two sets of defendants, including the Governor and the Attorney General — all argued that Oregon’s marriage law served no rational purpose.

“This is collusion, pure and simple.

“What is occurring here is the plaintiffs are colluding with the government to get a pre-ordained result that fits with their political agenda notwithstanding the fact that the voters of Oregon voted overwhelmingly to define marriage as one man and one woman.”

An attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union had hoped that the eleventh-hour motion from NOM would be dismissed “because it is coming at such a late date”.

The statement also repeatedly urged for donations, because “right now NOM has many immediate cash needs”.

The group are currently selling tickets to their anti-gay fundraising gala for up to $15,000 (£8960).