Oregon citizens who say their rejection of same-sex marriage was quashed by the state legislature scored a small legal victory in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
The appeals court granted a motion by the Alliance Defense Fund to expedite the appeal of a federal court judge’s decision that invalidated a voter petition drive.
As WND reported, a coalition of citizen groups want Oregonians to decide on a law that created “domestic partnerships” for homosexuals and lesbians in the state. But state officials contended the petition drive failed because there were too many invalid signatures.
With the margin of failure a mere five votes, several citizens went to their county offices to find out whether their valid signatures had been counted and discovered they had not.
But county officials, citing orders from state officials, refused to count the signatures, prompting a lawsuit from the Alliance Defense Fund.
At a Feb. 1 hearing, U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman essentially determined voters in Oregon have no legal right to have their petition signatures counted, the ADF said.
ADF Senior Legal Counsel Austin R. Nimocks contended “no legitimate reason existed to refuse to allow these registered voters to participate in the democratic process.”
“Our country is founded on the basic principle of government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” he said. “It should stay that way in Oregon.”
The ADF submitted evidence showing county clerks simply refused petition signers’ requests to count their signatures after they had been “wrongfully rejected.”
Oregon voters already have rejected same-sex marriage. In 2004, several thousand same-sex couples were given marriage licenses in Multnomah County, prompting Oregonians to approve by a 57-43 percent margin a constitutional ban on homosexual marriages. A court later nullified the licenses.
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