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The Boston Globe

Nation

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.

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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