Readers of Willamette Week
might know that my partner Juan Martinez and I are lead plaintiffs in Martinez v. Kulongoski, the court case aiming to overturn voter-approved Ballot Measure 36 that excludes same-sex marriage in Oregon.
In 2005 we lost before Circuit Judge Joseph Guimond in Marion County.
Today we lost again. This time it was a three-judge panel of the Oregon Court of Appeals that rejected our case.
This has nothing to do with last week's California Supreme Court decision striking down laws that exclude gay and lesbian couples from marriage, although the timing is odd especially considering that most of today's press will swallowed up by last night elections.
I've already received a call from our attorney giving me the bad news, but also saying the fight isn't quite over yet. That's because like in California, we can still take our case to a higher court.
Next stop: The Oregon Supreme Court.
According to Basic Rights Oregon director Jeana Frazzini, "the struggle for equality is not over."
UPDATES AT 10:30 AM/WED. May 21
from Mark Johnson, lead attorney for plaintiffs:
"It remains our position that Constitutional Amendment 36 contained significant constitutional flaws even before it was placed on the ballot, and that it should never have been presented to Oregon voters."
and Jeana Frazzini, director Basic Rights Oregon:
"The Oregon Constitution was created to establish justice, maintain order and perpetuate liberty. Basic Rights Oregon continues to believe that Measure 36 fundamentally undermined these principles by excluding committed couples from marriage. Using the initiative process to treat one group of citizens differently insults the spirit of the Oregon Constitution and violates every Oregon tradition of fairness."
Here is the full text of the decision: