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Oregon's Attorney General Won't Defend Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Oregon's Attorney General says she won't defend the state against federal lawsuits challenging the state's same-sex marriage ban. A ruling in the case could come this spring. 

Ten years ago Oregon voters changed the state's constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

Four Oregon same-sex couples filed suit last fall, claiming the amendment violates their federal constitutional rights. Democratic Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum says she agrees. And she says the U.S. Constitution trumps the state's.

Rosenblum is joining her counterparts in at least five other states in pledging not to defend the state's definition of marriage in court.

"There is no rational basis for Oregon to refuse to honor the commitments made by same-sex couples in the same way it honors the commitments of opposite-sex couples,” Rosenblum said.

A group hoping to overturn the state's prohibition on same-sex marriage at the ballot box this fall says it will halt its efforts pending a ruling in the federal case.

Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.