Legislators in Oregon and West Virginia Intervene in Same-Sex Marriage Lawsuits to Protect Traditional Marriage

Mar 26, 2004

PORTLAND, OR -- CHARLESTON, WV -- Today, Legislators in the States of Oregon and West Virginia intervened in lawsuits that seek to establish same-sex marriage in their respective states. In Oregon, fifteen members of the Oregon Legislature are seeking to intervene. In West Virginia, two state Senators and four state House of Delegate members are seeking to intervene. The Legislators in both states are represented by Liberty Counsel and the AFA Center for Law and Policy.

Oregon

In Oregon, a lawsuit was filed on Wednesday by the ACLU on behalf of several same-sex couples seeking to establish same-sex marriage. Late yesterday afternoon several state Legislators filed a Motion to Intervene in the case to protect traditional marriage and to argue that defining marriage is a job for the state legislature and not for the courts. This is a classic case of the wolf guarding the hen house, as the state Attorney General is “defending” this case on behalf of the state. He has already publicly stated that he believes prohibiting same-sex marriage violates Oregon’s constitution. The Brief filed on behalf of the Legislators argues that marriage policy is a legislative, not a judicial function. The lawsuit is pending in Multnomah County Circuit Court and a hearing is scheduled for today at 12:30 EST on the Motion to Intervene.

West Virginia

In West Virginia, a lawsuit was filed by two same-sex couples seeking to overturn West Virginia’s prohibition on same-sex marriage after they were denied a marriage license. Each of the Legislators intervening in the case voted for West Virginia’s Defense of Marriage Act which states, “Every application for a marriage license must contain the following statement: ‘Marriage is designed to be a loving and lifelong union between a woman and a man.’” The lawsuit is pending in West Virginia’s Supreme Court. With today’s intervention motion, Liberty Counsel and AFA filed a Brief arguing that marriage is for one man and one woman and that the Legislature has very clearly expressed the public policy of the state to prohibit same-sex marriage. The definition of marriage is a job for the legislature and not for the Courts.

Mat Staver, President and General Counsel of Liberty Counsel, stated, “We are witnessing an all-out assault on traditional marriage. Lawsuits have been filed in California, Florida, Washington, North Carolina, New York, Massachusetts, Indiana, New Jersey, Arizona and now West Virginia and Oregon seeking to establish same-sex marriage in those states.” Staver continued, “Marriage is our most important social institution and the recent efforts to undermine traditional marriage, if successful, will have far-reaching and damaging effects upon society. We don’t intend to allow that to happen.”

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