Court briefs supporting the freedom to marry in Oregon

On April 23rd, a federal judge will hear oral arguments in Geiger v. Kitzhaber and Rummel v. Kitzhaber, the consolidated case seeking the freedom to marry in Oregon. Before oral arguments begin, leading businesses, faith leaders and everyday Oregonians are joining together to show the judge that Oregon is ready for the freedom to marry.

Below, read amicus briefs filed in this historic case urging a federal court to strike down Oregon's marriage ban.

Oregon Faith Leaders

Click here to read the full amicus brief from Oregon faith leaders (PDF, 266 KB).

"A ruling by the Court recognizing the liberty interest of same-sex couples to civilly marry therefore need not infringe on the right to freely exercise religious beliefs—including the right of synagogues, churches, mosques, and other places of religious worship to recognize, or not to recognize, same-sex marriages."

Same-sex civil marriage does not, in itself, threaten religious liberty. Indeed, striking the ban on same-sex civil marriage would have the effect of 'expand[ing] religious freedom because some churches . . . desire to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies but are currently unable to do so.'"

"Put simply, there need not be a conflict between the right of same-sex couples to civilly marry and the right to free exercise. If the Court makes it clear that its ruling relates to civil, not religious, marriage, it could enjoin enforcement of Oregon's marriage laws that unconstitutionally discriminate against same-sex couples, while at the same time preserving the religious liberty rights enshrined in the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment."

Leading Businesses in Oregon

Click here to read the full amicus brief from Oregon faith leaders (PDF, 322 KB).

"Oregon's marriage exclusion is both morally and legally wrong."

"Oregon businesses must attract and retain the best employee talent to compete effectively in a national and global economy. This effort is made more challenging in states, like Oregon, where employees who are or will be in a same-sex relationship are discriminated against."

"Because Oregon law discriminates against actual and prospective employees who are or will be in a same-sex relationship, it is significantly harder for Amici and other Oregon employers to recruit and hire those employees."

"In addition to its effect on recruitment, retention, and deployment of talented employees, Oregon's marriage exclusion is also an administrative nightmare."

"Oregon's marriage exclusion also reduces workplace morale and productivity."

Oregon United for Marriage

Click here to read the full amicus brief from Oregon faith leaders (PDF, 261 KB).

"The Court has the power to spare Oregonians the anxiety, conflict, uncertainty and costs of an election on marriage equality."

"The federal courts have long been the guardians of civil rights in this country, and this case is no exception. The Court can grant marriage equality sooner than Oregonians can achieve it through the Initiative."