Saturday, April 19, 2014

Leading the defense will be …

On April 23 US District Judge Michael McShane will hear the case challenging Oregon's ban on same-sex marriages. But the defense table will be empty.

* Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum won't be there. She filed a brief saying, "This case presents that rare case in which there simply is no legal argument to be made in support of a state law."

* The governor or any other state officer won't be there.

* No outside anti-gay group will be there. The Supremes decided the Calif. case last summer by saying outside groups don't have standing to appeal. So why get involved if they can't pursue an appeal? They didn't even file briefs laying out their position. That's perhaps because they no longer have the resources to devote to a lost cause -- they want to use their dwindling resources to overturn public accommodation laws (see Arizona).

The judge did get lots of briefs -- from Oregon businesses saying the ban was bad for business.

Now some judges might feel free to impose their own opinion on the case, someone like Antonin Scalia, for example.

But not this judge. He's gay. Yes, a gay federal judge. Judge McShane did tell the attorneys in the case he'd be willing to step aside if anyone was uncomfortable with him being gay. But nobody expressed any concerns. Then again, there weren't any attorneys for the anti-gay side.

Of course, anti-gays from other states will complain about the activist gay judge. Too bad.

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