Liberty Counsel Files Amicus Brief in Case Involving Government Officials, ACLU, and Activist Judge Who Acted Collusively to Undermine Traditional Marriage

Oct 15, 2004

Portland, Oregon -- Liberty Counsel filed an amicus brief with the Oregon Supreme Court contesting a state court ruling that declared Oregon's statute, which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman, unconstitutional. Liberty Counsel is a nonprofit litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of human life and the traditional family.

In March 2004, the Oregon Attorney General issued an opinion stating that he believed Oregon law which limited marriage to one man and one woman was unconstitutional. A few weeks later, the same Attorney General, the ACLU, a local judge, and county attorneys met and derived a litigation scheme in which all parties would work together in order to challenge Oregon's statute which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman. During this meeting, it was decided "when" the ACLU would file a lawsuit, "what" the lawsuit would allege, and "who" would be involved in the process. Furthermore, the parties to this collusion decided on an expedited briefing schedule without discovery of evidence. The parties also agreed that the law was to be challenged in summary judgment motions without any substantive evidence.

One day after the ACLU filed suit, state legislators in Oregon sought intervention but were denied because they would not agree to the sham expedited schedule decided upon by the Attorney General and the ACLU. Within a month of the suit being filed, the judge ruled that the state marriage law was unconstitutional and the case went directly to the Oregon Supreme Court. In addition to requesting that the Oregon Supreme Court send the case back to the lower court for a real trial where evidence can be presented to defend traditional marriage laws, Liberty Counsel's brief also argues that Oregon's marriage laws are constitutional, as it is the job of the Legislature to define marriage, not the courts.

Mat Staver, President and General Counsel of Liberty Counsel, stated, "The collusion which occurred in this closed-door session among the Attorney General, the ACLU, and a sitting judge is a sham and nothing short of manipulation of the judicial process for political gain. Marriage as the union of one man and one woman has come under attack across the country, but the collusive actions of the activist parties are unacceptable and will be challenged." Staver further commented, "The Attorney General is charged with executing the laws of Oregon, not secretly plotting with the ACLU and activist judges to create new law. Liberty Counsel will fight to make sure that the voice of the people in Oregon is heard and not stifled by under-the-table legal maneuverings of a few activist government officials."