NOM BLOG

Category Archives: Oregon

Because No One Else Will

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

I don't know if you have been following what has been going on in Oregon this week.

Gay marriage activists have brought suit seeking to overturn Oregon's duly enacted Constitutional Amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. And, as has happened in so many other places recently, state officials — the Attorney General and the Governor — are abandoning their oaths of office and sworn duty to defend the state's laws.

But someone is stepping up where these officials have backed down: NOM. And I'm asking you to stand with us: please click here to make a generous, fully tax-deductible donation today!

In a hearing earlier this week, all participants — two sets of plaintiffs and two sets of defendants, including the Governor and the Attorney General — all argued that Oregon's marriage law served no rational purpose. Furthermore, the attorneys for the government announced that they could not even conceive of any argument in favor of marriage between one man and one woman.

This is collusion, pure and simple. What is occurring here is the plaintiffs are colluding with the government to get a pre-ordained result that fits with their political agenda notwithstanding the fact that the voters of Oregon voted overwhelmingly to define marriage as one man and one woman.

But just this past Monday, NOM filed in federal court seeking to intervene in this case to serve as a genuine adversary to the plaintiffs and the state, and to represent our members and the voters who firmly believe that marriage between one man and one woman serves the public interest.

We're very pleased that the judge has agreed to hear us out! On May 14th, we get to make our argument before the court! And we look forward to mounting a vigorous defense of traditional marriage, making the strong arguments in favor of marriage that no one else is willing to make in this case, and defending the right of the people of Oregon to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Today I'm asking you to stand up with us against this rising tide of radicalism seeking to redefine marriage at any cost — liberty, free speech, democracy.

Won't you please make a tax-deductible donation right now of $35, $50, $100, $500 or more to help us finance this critical litigation?

As you know, right now NOM has many immediate cash needs. But this opportunity to defend marriage and our democracy is just too important to pass up. We must make the case — since the appropriate elected officials refuse — that marriage as the union of one man and one woman is good for children and good for society.

Faithfully,

Brian S. Brown

PS: There is nothing inevitable about the future of marriage in America. What happens will depend on what ordinary people like you and I do in its defense. The one thing we cannot abide is losing because the side of right gave up. We need champions for marriage to stand up and defend it — which is why NOM took action in Oregon this past week when no one else would. Won't you please stand with us today by making a generous, tax-deductible donation in support of our legal efforts?

National Organization for Marriage Files Motion Seeking to Intervene in Oregon Marriage Case

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 21, 2014
Contact: Elizabeth Ray or Matille Thebolt (703-683-5004)


"We are acting to protect the interests of our members in Oregon who support traditional marriage, including government officials, voters and those in the wedding industry, who will be directly impacted by this collusive lawsuit which the state has refused to defend." — Brian Brown, NOM president —

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Washington, D.C. — The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) said it will file a motion in federal court later today seeking to intervene in the case challenging the constitutionality of the 2004 state ballot measure that defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman. NOM seeks to protect the interests of its members in Oregon which include a County Clerk, professionals in the wedding industry and voters who supported the 2004 amendment to the state constitution. The group said the intervention filing became necessary when the state Attorney General refused to mount a defense of the amendment, a situation that creates a "collusive" lawsuit where the public's interests are unrepresented.

"Marriage in Oregon is worthy of defense, yet the Attorney General has abandoned her duty to defend the marriage state constitutional amendment enacted overwhelmingly in 2004 and in effect has switched sides," said Brian Brown, president of NOM. "As a membership organization, we speak on behalf of our members, including a County Clerk in the state, several professionals in the wedding industry, and voters. All of these individuals have a particularized interest in the outcome of the litigation, yet their interests are not being represented. We are working to protect the interests of our members who support true marriage against a collusive lawsuit that has the state joining with the plaintiffs against the interests of our members, and the state's voters."

The challenge to Measure 36, the state constitutional amendment defining marriage, is currently scheduled for oral argument in federal district court in Eugene on Wednesday, April 23rd.

NOM's lead legal counsel — its chairman John Eastman — will tell the federal court in the filing today that NOM's members in Oregon include a county clerk who must perform marriages and certify them, professionals in the wedding industry, and voters who cannot defend their interests in upholding the law themselves due to legitimate fear of reprisal.

"It is precisely for this reason that federal law has a strong premise that organizations like NOM should be able to intervene to defend the interests of their members who cannot adequately defend those interests themselves," said John Eastman, NOM's Chairman and Director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence at The Claremont Institute. Eastman, a noted constitutional law scholar and former clerk to US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, added that, "even the simple fact of having to publicly identify themselves as supporters of traditional marriage would subject them to reprisals. This is obvious and well-documented from what's occurred to businesses in Oregon and elsewhere."

In 2009, the Heritage Foundation published a report, "The Price of Prop 8," detailing numerous examples of harassment, boycotts and other threats against supporters of the 2008 constitutional amendment in California, nearly identical to Oregon's amendment, defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Since then many further examples have been widely reported, including an Oregon baker whose business has effectively been shuttered, and most recently a woman whose new natural food business is being boycotted over her support for true marriage.

Eastman also said that news reports over the weekend that Judge Michael McShane is in a long-term relationship with another man and that the two are raising a child together raise serious ethical questions about whether the judge should continue to hear the case.

"These recent news reports suggest that Judge McShane is in the same position as the two gay men challenging the marriage amendment, raising troubling questions about his impartiality," Eastman said. "But regardless of what judge eventually hears this matter, it is wrong that a challenge to Oregon's marriage law would proceed in federal court with no meaningful defense of the constitutional amendment adopted overwhelmingly by voters. Their interests, and the particular interests of those involved in performing or celebrating wedding ceremonies deserve a defense. If our motion to intervene is granted, we intend to fully and aggressively defend the state constitutional amendment."

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To schedule an interview with Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage, or John Eastman, chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, please contact Elizabeth Ray, [email protected], or Matille Thebolt, [email protected], at 703-683-5004

Paid for by The National Organization for Marriage, Brian Brown, president. 2029 K Street NW, Suite 300 Washington, DC 20006, not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. New § 68A.405(1)(f) & (h).

Statement from the National Organization for Marriage Regarding Oregon Attorney General's Decision to Abandon Defense of Marriage Amendment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 20, 2014
Contact: Elizabeth Ray or Matille Thebolt (703-683-5004)


"Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum is shamefully abandoning her constitutional duty to defend the marriage amendment overwhelmingly enacted by the people of Oregon. She swore an oath of office that she would enforce all the laws, not just those she personally agrees with." — Brian Brown, NOM president —

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Washington, D.C. — The following may be attributed to Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM):

"Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum is shamefully abandoning her constitutional duty to defend the marriage amendment overwhelmingly enacted by the people of Oregon. She swore an oath of office that she would enforce all the laws, not just those she personally agrees with. The people are entitled to a vigorous defense of the laws they enact, and the marriage amendment is no exception to that solemn obligation. Further, Ms. Rosenblum is dead-wrong in her conclusion that the amendment cannot be supported by rational legal arguments. Just last June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that regulating marriage is the purview of the states, not the federal government. Most recently, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ordered a decision to invalidate Utah's marriage amendment to be stayed, strongly signaling that the Court believes there is a good likelihood that the state will win its appeal against the ruling issued by an activist federal judge. Marriage is our only institution that exists to bring men and women together to benefit the couple and to provide an ideal environment for any children produced by their union. It can and must be defended as a unique, essential and profoundly good institution."

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To schedule an interview with Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage, please contact Elizabeth Ray, [email protected], or Matille Thebolt, [email protected], at 703-683-5004

Paid for by The National Organization for Marriage, Brian Brown, president. 2029 K Street NW, Suite 300 Washington, DC 20006, not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. New § 68A.405(1)(f) & (h).

Grappling With the Arguments

Oregon PolitiChick State Director Maggie Wilson-Mars writes at the PolitiChicks blog about "The Very Real Slippery Slope of Gay Marriage." Wilson-Mars is a Mormon woman and a conservative with a homosexual son with whom she often argues about same-sex marriage - with him arguing against it, and her in favor.

Throughout her piece she is dismissive of many of the arguments in favor of traditional marriage that we here at NOM know are based in greater logic and evidence that she seems willing to credit them. Nonetheless, despite her reasoning and convictions in these matters, she wrote her article to admit that there's one argument that can't be so easily dismissed -- even though, ironically, it's the one most frequently waved off in our society: namely, the so-called "slippery slope." She writes:

Sweet CakesHere in Oregon, a bakery refused to provide a cake for a same-sex wedding. They will sell to anyone, but draw the line at providing wedding cakes for same-sex weddings. The community was outraged. Portland/Gresham is a liberal, pro-gay town and they weren’t having it. It caused such a ruckus that the Oregon Attorney General opened an investigation. [...]

A few days ago, the Oregon bakery ... decided to operate from home. The emails, messages, phone calls and threats are so bad they can’t take it. Remember, they’re still the focus of an investigation by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries into possible violation of the states discrimination laws. There’s no reassurance for churches, etc. if businesses are already being forced to participate in ceremonies that they are morally opposed to or face fines, attacks and shutdown. Just in my own personal life, I know many conservatives who have no problem with gay marriage itself, it’s just that supposedly non-existent slippery slope that rears that its ugly head time and time again. I can’t help but look into the future when I see things like bakeries getting investigated and terrorized.

Of course, just like we here at NOM have more evidence and reasons to support the arguments Mrs. Wilson-Mars rejects, we (sadly) have more proof of this danger that follows in the wake of marriage redefinition as well.

Oregon Bakery Owners' Decision Aligned with State Constitution

Before the owners of "Sweet Cakes by Melissa" were forced to close their very successful Oregon bakery, voters in their state had approved a referendum to define marriage as the exclusive union of one man and one woman. In other words, same-sex unions were not even legally recognized in Oregon.

Why then would Aaron and Melissa Klein be harassed to the point of closing their business just for declining to support a ceremony that was technically illegal in their state anyway? NewsBusters has more:

Sweet CakesFollowing a voter-approved referendum in 2004, Oregon's constitution (Article XV, Section 5A) has stated that "... only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or legally recognized as a marriage."

For some reason, that doesn't seem to matter in the "Sweet Cakes" controversy over Aaron and Melissa Klein's refusal earlier this year to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple's (not legally recognized) "marriage." The turned-down couple has filed a civil-rights complaint with the Civil Rights Division of the Oregon Department of Labor and Industry. In the meantime, the Kleins, who have experienced ongoing harassment and threats against anyone and everyone who might refer business to them, have closed their storefront business and are operating it out of their home. Aaron has taken employment elsewhere.

No press coverage that I have seen has raised the seemingly valid issue of how the Kleins can be forced to do something in support of a ceremony, i.e., same-sex "marriage," which is not legally sanctioned and could construed to be an illegal act.

It seems like a stretch to assert that the 2007 law trumps the language hard-wired into the state's constitution and forces the Kleins to support something the state doesn't formally recognize.

Oregon Official Says Bakers Who Support Traditional Marriage Need 'Rehabilitation'

Despite the fact that Oregon bakers saw a huge boom in business after standing up for their belief in marriage (proving that many other Oregonians feel the same way), Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian says the state government's goal is to "rehabilitate" them:

A lesbian couple filed a formal complaint against “Sweet Cakes by Melissa” in Portland after the owners – Aaron and Melissa Klein – declined on the basis of their Christian faith to provide services for a lesbian “wedding.”

Sweet Cakes Owner

The Oregonian quotes Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian as saying: "The goal is never to shut down a business. The goal is to rehabilitate."

“To say that this couple needs to be ‘rehabilitated’ for believing and practicing the values on which this nation was founded is entirely beyond the pale,” says [Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association].

“This sounds like Stalinist Russia or China under Mao, where those who thought for themselves were forced under government coercion into re-education camps. This is not the America that was given to us by our Founders.”

Matt Barber [vice president of Liberty Counsel Action] says the “rehabilitation” remark connotes some kind of ailment, mental illness or physical ailment. “You know, we rehabilitate criminals,” he explains. “Are they saying that Christianity is criminal here and we have to rehabilitate those who embrace the Christian sexual ethic? That's what this official in Oregon is saying.”

Wildmon wonders what might follow if the bakery owners refuse to be “rehabilitated.” -One News Now

Peters on SSM Proponents: "They're Hugely Overplaying Their Hand"

NOM's Thomas Peters responds in an interview with Reuters to a new plan by gay marriage activists to target four states next:

Poker HandOpponents of same-sex marriage called the Freedom to Marry's four-state strategy overly optimistic.

"They're hugely overplaying their hand," said Thomas Peters, a spokesman for the National Organization for Marriage, which opposes gay marriage.

"These are states where gay marriage advocates have been saying for months, if not years, that gay marriage is inevitable and they've made no progress."

In Illinois, a bill to recognize same-sex marriage stalled in the state legislature this year but could be revived when lawmakers return in the fall.

Video: Oregon Bakery Sees Boom in Business After Refusing S-S Wedding Cake

A great story showing a community in Oregon rallying around a Christian couple who run a bakery and chose to stand up for their belief in marriage:

Video: Oregon Baker Under Attack for Refusing to Bake S-S Wedding Cake

The owner cites his biblical understanding of marriage in the interview, while the Department of Justice is examining the allegations made against him by the woman who was refused a cake:

From the segment voiceover:

What Aaron and his wife want to make clear is that he don't hate homosexuals, in fact, quite the opposite: "I have no problem with them I have customers who come in almost on a weekly basis who are homosexual. I have no problem, they can buy my stuff I sell stuff I talk with them I mean it's fine." What's not fine, according to Aaron, is a marriage between people of the same sex. He says he'll always stand by that conviction. "I'd rather have my kids see their dad stand up for what he believed in then to see him bow down because one person complained."

Oregon Gay Activists Give Up Plan to Put SSM on the Ballot in 2012

Another large gay marriage group sees the writing on the wall:

After a three-year campaign to build support for legalizing same-sex marriage, Oregon's largest gay rights group has decided against putting the issue up for a vote in 2012.

Feedback from an online survey of over 1,000 people, door-to-door canvassing, community meetings and two statewide television advertising campaigns overwhelmingly say, "we must allow our education work to continue," Basic Rights Oregon announced Wednesday. -- Oregon Live