Late yesterday, the National Organization For Marriage officially requested the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the ruling by a federal judge that found Oregon‘s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Today, Justice Anthony Kennedy responded, requesting information from both parties in the case.
That means Justice Kennedy may intervene in the case, stay the ruling, and halt any future marriages, or he may decline to accept NOM’s motion, or he may pass the entire case to the full Court, which would then make a determination to proceed or to decline to intervene.
Court watchers believe that NOM does not have standing to defend Oregon’s marriage ban, and that Judge Michael McShane appropriately ruled on the case when he handed down his decision nine days ago. NOM had waited eight days to make the formal request.
The Oregonian, which broke the news tonight, reports that “David Fidanque, executive director of the Oregon chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said he thought it was good that Kennedy “will have a more complete record” before acting.
Fidanque, whose group represents some of the plaintiffs in the case, noted that he particularly wants Kennedy to see a transcript of McShane’s oral ruling explaining why he would not allow NOM to intervene in the case. He noted that NOM did not include this in its brief.
Lake Perriguey, a Portland attorney who represents two of the couples who sought the right to marry, said he thought Kennedy was simply being careful.
“I don’t think there’s much to take from it,” Perriguey said. “Courts don’t like to make knee-jerk reactions to things.”
Meanwhile, NOM’s chairman, John Eastman, is calling Kennedy’s move “a very good sign.”
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