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Oregon won't defend same-sex marriage ban in court

By Ralph Ellis, CNN
updated 7:10 PM EST, Thu February 20, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Oregon won't fight for same-sex marriage ban in federal lawsuit
  • The state defines marriage as being between one man and one woman
  • Attorney general says state will enforce the ban while case is litigated

(CNN) -- Oregon will not defend the state's same-sex marriage ban in court because the law would not stand up to a federal constitutional challenge, the state's attorney general said Thursday.

However, Ellen Rosenblum said in legal documents that the state is legally obligated to enforce the state's ban on same-sex marriage while a federal lawsuit is litigated.

Oregon filed the documents in response to the lawsuit challenging the ban.

Oregon voters passed Measure 36 in 2004, which amended the state's Constitution to define marriage as between one man and a woman.

In 2013, the state's chief operating officer directed state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages that were legally performed in other states.

Thursday's response ended by saying the state will not defend the Oregon ban on same-sex marriage because it "cannot withstand a federal constitutional challenge under any standard of review."

Meanwhile, Rosenblum said officials are legally obligated to enforce the ban until the court makes a ruling.

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