The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to halt same-sex weddings in Oregon while a federal appeals court considers whether a group opposed to gay marriage can intervene in the case.
The order follows an emergency appeal by the National Organization for Marriage that seeks to overturn U.S. District Judge Michael McShane's May 19 ruling that declared Oregon's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. The group had unsuccessfully tried to intervene in the lower court proceeding after Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum declined to defend the same-sex ban.
The group filed its request with Justice Anthony Kennedy and he referred it to the full court, which denied the request without comment.
Hundreds of same-sex couples have obtained marriage licenses since McShane's order, including 245 in Multnomah County, which includes Portland.
The Oregon case differs from others where the justices have blocked same-sex unions while appeals work their way through the courts. In Oregon, the appeal is focused on whether an outside group can intervene in the case, not on the constitutionality of the same-sex marriage ban. The state has said it won't appeal McShane's ruling and had asked the justices to refuse the request.
"We are delighted that the court has rejected NOM's attempt to derail marriage equality in Oregon," said David Fidanque, director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, which represented two of the four gay and lesbian couples who challenged the marriage ban. "We are confident that marriage equality in Oregon will help pave the way for marriage equality nationwide."