Supreme Court refuses to halt Oregon same-sex marriages

U.S. Supreme Court Justices

Photo: Supreme Court Justices. Credit: U.S. Supreme Court.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to halt same-sex marriages in Oregon in a one sentence order handed down Wednesday.

The order, which came from the entire court after being referred by Justice Anthony Kennedy, provided no explanation for their decision.

“The application for stay presented to Justice Kennedy and by him referred to the Court is denied,” the order read.

The decision came in response to an emergency stay request filed by the National Organization for Marriage seeking to put on hold a lower court’s ruling from last month.

On May 19, U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. McShane declared a constitutional amendment approved by Oregon voters in 2004 defining marriage as between a man and a woman as in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

State officials in Oregon stated they would not appeal McShane’s decision, which went into effect immediately. NOM had sought to intervene in the case to defend the state ban in federal court but were denied that request by McShane. NOM appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and, prior to the district court decision, requested an emergency stay to prevent marriages from beginning in Oregon. NOM’s request for a stay was denied by the appeals court and today was denied by the Supreme Court. The appeals court is still considering NOM’s request to appeal McShane’s decision.

The Supreme Court’s decision differs from one made in January halting same-sex marriages in Utah. That decision by the high court has been the basis for stays issued by a number of federal judges striking down same-sex marriage bans in numerous states. However, unlike in Oregon, Utah officials were defending the marriage ban in that case.

Justin Snow is Metro Weekly's political editor and White House correspondent. He can be reached at jsnow@metroweekly.com.

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