Less than a week after Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced that the Oregon Department of Justice would not defend Oregon's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder assured his state-level counterparts that that was just fine.
“If I were attorney general in Kansas in 1953, I would not have defended a Kansas statute that put in place separate-but-equal facilities,” Holder told the New York Times, referring to the 1964 ruling in Brown v. the Board of Education.
Rosenblum is a defendant in two federal lawsuits brought last year by same-sex couples in Oregon who claim the state's ban on gay-marriage infringes on their federal constitutional rights. Until Rosenblum's decision a coalition of advocacy groups including Basic Rights Oregon and the ACLU were pursing a ballot initiative to change that language. The group has stalled that initiative pending an outcome in the federal case and refocused attention on fighting an initiative that would allow businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples.