WASHINGTON – A Supreme Court Justice asked to put a halt to Oregon's same-sex marriages has requested that litigants in the case to present briefs to him by Monday at 1 p.m. before making a decision.
The request signals that the U.S. Supreme Court may get involved in Oregon's battle over gay marriage.
On Tuesday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which opposes same-sex unions, filed a motion with Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, asking him to halt Oregon gay marriages.
On May 19, U.S. District Judge Michael McShane ruled in a civil suit filed by two same-sex couples, that Oregon's voter-approved ban on gay marriage violated the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause.
NOM wants the Supreme Court to "stay" the ruling so it can have time to mount a full challenge. The group has tried repeatedly to insert itself into the Oregon case, but so far its appeals to the federal district and the 9th Circuit Court have been turned down.
In its filing Wednesday, NOM noted that in January, the Supreme Court blocked a ruling in Utah that had overturned a same-sex marriage ban there. NOM stated it believed the Supreme Court wants to decide for itself whether or not such bans on same-sex marriage were constitutional, and not leave it to lower courts, according to the SCOTUSblog.
Kennedy can now rule on the request himself or bring the entire court into the issue.
On Tuesday, the gay-rights organization, Oregon United for Marriage, said NOM was grasping at straws.
"Let’s make one thing clear: NOM can’t win an appeal ... they know that," said OUM deputy campaign manager Amy Ruiz.
However, Kennedy's request for briefs from litigants in the original lawsuit mean that he, for one, is taking the matter seriously.