• Leo Zarosinski

Probably the last potential roadblock to gay marriage in Oregon has just been swatted aside.

The National Organization for Marriage has been denied standing in a federal suit challenging Oregon's definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.

The group Oregon United for Marriage reports US District Judge Michael McShane denied NOM's bid to argue on behalf of the ban. As we relate in today's Mercury, NOM's possible involvement was one of the only remaining uncertainties in the gay marriage fight. Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has declined to argue for the ban, meaning McShane—who is openly gay—has only formally heard arguments against Oregon's current law.

"Today’s ruling is a huge victory—and it paves the way for what I hope will be the ultimate victory: winning marriage for all loving couples in Oregon," reads the release from Oregon United for Marriage Deputy Director Amy Ruiz.

McShane's ruling is the second significant victory for Oregon's gay rights activists in less than a week. On Friday, the Oregon Family Council and an offshoot group, Friends of Religious Freedom, announced they were pulling the plug on an initiative petition that would have allowed businesses to refuse services for gay marriages and civil union ceremonies.

Advocates say the initiative's defeat has big national implications. Read all about it in this week's issue (once we get it up online).

Since a US Supreme Court ruling on the federal Defense of Marriage Act last summer, federal judges across the country—in Arkansas Idaho, most recently—have dismantled restrictions on gay marriage, finding they violate constitutional protections. With McShane's decision today, it seems only a matter of time before the judge agrees.