Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum: “Because we cannot identify a valid reason for the state to prevent the couples who have filed these lawsuits from marrying in Oregon, we find ourselves unable to stand before [U.S. District Court] Judge [Michael] McShane to defend the state’s prohibition against marriages between two men or two women.”
Oregon’s ban was passed by voters in 2004. More on Rosenblum’s decision here.
The Washington Post has a roundup of statements made by the six — so far — attorneys general who’ve taken similar positions that such bans are unconstitutional in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Windsor case.
They include Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring a month ago.
They do not include North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.
Cooper, who continues to defend our state’s same-sex marriage ban — Amendment One — in court even though he says he personally favors marriage equality, has been quoted as saying he can’t get into whether the laws he’s defending are constitutional or not:
“You’re not going to hear me talk about the legality or constitutionality of any of these statutes that are under litigation. I think it’s important for me not to do that,” Cooper said before addressing a Democratic Party function in Greensboro. “However, I will engage in public policy discussions and I want to do that.”
Cooper is campaigning as an all-but-declared candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2016.
Cooper has also said: ” [W]hen legal arguments exist to defend a law, it is the duty of the Office of the Attorney General under North Carolina law to make those arguments in court.”
Notice that Cooper’s position is that he’ll defend a law if a “legal” argument can be made for it. Has there ever been a law for which a “legal” argument could not be made?
Oregon AG Rosenblum’s standard is that she won’t defend a law without a “valid” argument.
The Campaign for Southern Equality, a pro-LGBT rights group, has called on Cooper to cease his defense of Amendment One.
That doesn’t mean Amendment One would go undefended if Cooper dropped it — its Republican backers in the General Assembly made it clear that they have lawyers ready to defend Amendment One if Cooper doesn’t.
Disclosure: Ellen Rosenblum is married to Richard Meeker, a co-owner of the INDY.