Justices Decline to Halt Gay Marriage in Oregon

     (CN) - The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to stop gay marriages from taking place in Oregon, where a federal judge recently struck down the state's same-sex marriage ban.
     The justices rejected without comment a request by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to stay U.S. District Judge Michael McShane's May 19 ruling unraveling Oregon's gay marriage ban.
     McShane noted that the case was "something akin to a friendly tennis match rather than a contested and robust proceeding between adversaries," after Oregon officials conceded that the state's ban was legally indefensible in light of last year's Supreme Court decision striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
     He said the state's marriage law leaves same-sex couples and their families "feeling degraded, humiliated, and stigmatized."
     "They face a tiered system of recognition that grants greater legal status to married felons, deadbeat parents, and mail-order brides," wrote McShane, who is one of nine openly gay federal judges.
     He dismissed the state's justification that same-sex marriage bans protect children and families as "utterly arbitrary and completely irrational."
     "The state's marriage laws fly in the face of the state's 'strong interest in promoting stable and lasting families, including the families of same-sex couples and their children,'" he wrote, citing Oregon law.
     McShane had rejected NOM's request to intervene a few days before his May 19 order, which made Oregon the 18th state, along with the District of Columbia, to allow same-sex marriage.
     Pennsylvania became the 19th state a day later.
     The American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement Wednesday applauding the Supreme Court's refusal to grant a stay.
     "We are delighted that the court has rejected NOM's attempt to derail marriage equality in Oregon," said David Fidanque, executive director of the ACLU of Oregon. "We are confident that marriage equality in Oregon will help pave the way for marriage equality nationwide."