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Oregon won’t defend gay marriage ban

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon’s attorney general will not defend the state’s ban on gay marriage, arguing it cannot withstand a federal constitutional challenge.

Ellen Rosenblum joins fellow Democratic attorneys general in Virginia, Pennsylvania, California, Illinois, and Nevada who have pledged not to defend state bans on gay marriage.

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Rosenblum’s decision comes less than a month after a federal judge decided to consolidate two lawsuits alleging Oregon’s 2004 voter-approved ban violates the US Constitution.

Rosenblum, who backs the rights of gay couples to marry, had defended the ban as a state appeals court judge on a 2008 panel that unanimously upheld it under the state constitution.

But the balance nationally has shifted in six years, with a pair of federal decisions dramatically altering the legal landscape regarding gay rights, and polling reflecting increasing acceptance of gay marriage.

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Rosenblum said the state would actively participate in the case, but she declined to say whether her office will argue that the ban should be overturned.

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