- Illustration by Leo Zarosinski
A national group was trying to tangle a federal court case that's expected give Oregonians the right to marry anyone they want—potentially forcing advocates to push ahead with an expensive and emotionally exhausting ballot fight this fall. And, at the same time, another group, the Oregon Family Council, was working through an offshoot to complicate the fall election with a measure allowing businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples in the name of religious freedom.
Marriage equality advocates won two big victories since then. The people behind the discrimination measure dropped it in a huff last Friday. And then, this week, Judge Michael McShane curtly denied the National Organization for Marriage's literal 11th-hour bid to slow the court case. And now they've got another.
McShane has promised a decision on marriage equality at noon Monday—giving advocates enough time to safely pull the plug on a fall campaign to overturn Oregon's 10-year-old marriage ban. Presuming McShane does that work for them, following more than a dozen federal judges all across the country ever since the US Supreme Court ruled the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional last year.
“We don't know which way the judge will rule, but we are hopeful that Oregon is on the verge of making history," Amy Ruiz, Oregon United for Marriage's deputy campaign manager, said in a statement.
History does seems due. But even if McShane casts down Oregon's marriage ban, it still may not arrive as speedy as everyone hopes. There's a chance he could stay that ruling pending further legal battles in federal appellate courts or the US Supreme Court. But other judges, notably in Arkansas, have dispensed with that wait.
And if McShane does the same, Multnomah County, at least, says it's ready to start letting people marry ASAP. Here's hoping.