Court hears challenge to Oregon's ban on same-sex marriage

Court hears challenge to Oregon's ban on same-sex marriage »Play Video
People rallied outside the courthouse the evening before the hearing

EUGENE, Ore. - Oral arguments on a challenge to Oregon's ban on same-sex marriage were held in U.S. District Court on Wednsday.

Gay and lesbian couples have filed a federal lawsuit to have Oregon's law, approved by voters in 2004, tossed out.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs argued the Oregon ban on safe sex marriage violates the federal constitution equal protection clause.

"What we heard in the courtroom again and again today is that discrimination has no place in Oregon," said Dave Fidanque with the Oregon ACLU.

"This is about, for us, family and community and what's right for all Oregonians," said plaintiff Ben West.

John Eastman with the National Organization For Marriage said his organization intervened to defend the law after state government declined to do so.

"We did so because the attorney general of Oregon has decided not just to not defend Oregon's law but to affirmatively attack it," he said. "We think that poses a real problem."

Eastman did not present his argument at Wednesday's hearing.  Judge Michael McShane will hold a separate hearing on the group's court application to be an intervenor in the case.  That hearing is set in U.S. District Court on May 14th. 

There's no word on when a final ruling will be handed down by McShane.