Oregon Attorney General Declares Ban on Marriage for Same-Sex Couples Indefensible

February 20, 2014 - Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced today that the state will not defend Oregon’s constitutional ban on marriage for same-sex couples in the case Rummell v. Kitzhaber. The ACLU of Oregon and Basic Rights Oregon welcomed the announcement.

The state’s legal filing stated that the Oregon marriage ban “cannot withstand a federal constitutional challenge under any standard of review.”

“I am more confident than ever that same-sex couples will have the freedom to marry before the year is out,” said Basic Rights Oregon executive director Jeana Frazzini. “Today’s step forward is another example of the important partnership between Basic Rights Oregon and the ACLU in securing the freedom to marry for all loving and committed couples. The important work on this case could not have been accomplished without the collaboration between our organizations and hard work of our partners and supporters.”

The plaintiffs in the ACLU lawsuit, include two couples:, Paul Rummell and Benjamin West, and Lisa Chickadonz and Christine Tanner, as well as Basic Rights Education Fund.

“While court cases can take unexpected turns, today’s announcement by Attorney General Rosenblum is extremely important for everyone who supports the civil rights and civil liberties of all Oregonians,” said David Fidanque, executive director of the ACLU of Oregon.

The ACLU filed a Motion for Summary Judgment in the case earlier this week seeking a quick decision in the case, as did attorneys in a second case, Geiger v. Kitzhaber. The state is expected to file its briefs in response in mid-March. Oral arguments are scheduled before U.S. District Judge Michael McShane in Eugene on April 23.