Marriage Equality USA

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Lawsuits - Resolved

Geiger v. Kitzhaber

Case #: 6:13-cv-01834-MC
Date Filed: 15 October 2013
Ruling Date: 19 May 2014


  • 15 October 2013, a same-sex couple who wants to marry in Oregon, where they have lived for most of their lives, and a couple lawfully married outside of Oregon who wants full recognition of their marriage in this state filed a lawsuit. This case alleges that Oregon's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, Article 15, § 5, and all related marriage statutes, violate the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
  • 16 October 2013, the OR Attorney General issued a letter directing all state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages that were legally performed in jurisdictions outside of Oregon.
  • 20 February 2014, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum held a press conference at the State Capitol building announcing that the "Oregon Department of Justice will not defend the prohibition in our state's constitution against marriages between people of the same sex." She told the court that she believed "that performing same-sex marriages in Oregon would have no adverse effect on existing marriages, and that sexual orientation does not determine an individual's capacity to establish a loving and enduring relationship". She found it impossible to defend the state "under any standard of review" and her office would no longer defend the ban in court.
  • 22 January 2014, Judge Michael McShane consolidated this case with Rummell v. Kitzhaber (see under LAWSUITS-RESOLVED). Geiger was made the lead case.
  • 18 February 2014, the plaintiffs in both Geiger and Rummell filed motions asking for summary judgment.
  • 21 April 2014, the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage (NOM) moved to intervenein the consolidated cases. Both the defendants and the plaintiffs objected.
  • 23 April 2014, oral argument on the plaintiffs’ motions for summary judgment took place before U.S. District Judge Michael McShane at Wayne L. Morse Federal Courthouse in Eugene OR.
  • 19 May 2014, NOM filed an emergency motion to stay the district court proceedings pending an appeal.
  • 19 May 2014, the motion was denied.
  • 19 May 2014, the court granted the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment, resulting in the immediate legalization of same-sex marriage in Oregon. Woot!
  • 19 May 2014, the ruling was ordered effective immediately – no stay.
  • 27 August 2014, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed NOM's attempt to appeal on grounds of no standing. 
  • 10 September 2014, NOM petitioned the 9th Circuit for an en banc rehearing of the August 27th denial. (Kathleen Perrin of Equality Case Files (EQCF) said, "Where's that graphic of a dead horse when you need it?" So apropos!)
  • 25 September 2014, NOM submitted a Declaration in support of its previously filed petition for rehearing en banc.
  • 24 November 2014, the 9th Circuit denied NOM's petition for rehearing en banc.
  • 3 December 2014, MANDATE ISSUED. (Per Kathleen Perrin of EQCF: NOM can still petition for Supreme Court review. The deadline for the petition is 90 days from the date of the denial for en banc rehearing, i.e., 90 days from 24 November 2014, so late February 2015.)
  • 20 April 2015, Supreme Court rejects group's final attempt to overturn Oregon's marriage law - By Jeff Mapes, The Oregonian/OregonLive 
Rummell v. Kitzhaber

Case #: 6:13-cv-02256MC
Date Filed: 19 December 2013
Ruling Date: 19 May 2014


  • 19 December 2013, two same-sex couples who wished to marry in Oregon – Paul Rummell and Ben West, and Lisa Chickadonz and Christine Tanner – filed a lawsuit.
  • 20 February 2014, the Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment.
  • 22 January 2014, Judge Michael McShane consolidated this case with Geiger v. Kitzhaber (see under LAWSUITS-PENDING). Geiger was made the lead case. See above for further details.
  • 18 February 2014, the plaintiffs in both Geiger and Rummell filed motions asking for summary judgment.
  • 19 May 2014, the court granted the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment, resulting in the immediate legalization of same-sex marriage in Oregon.
Rachel Cryer & Laurel Bowman vs. Sweet Cakes by Melissa Bakery

Case #:
Date Filed: January 2013
Ruling Date: 17 January 2014


  • In January 2013 Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman of Portland were denied a wedding cake by the bakery's owners, who cited their religious beliefs for not making the cake.
  • 1 September 2013 the bakery closed its doors and began making the transition to an at-home bakery for custom cakes.
  • 17 January 2014, the OR Bureau of Labor and Industries decided that a bakery violated the civil rights of the couple by refusing to bake a cake for the women’s wedding.
  • Opponents of LGBTQ equality often cite this case when arguing that marriage equality laws eliminate religious freedom.
  • 29 January 2015, the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa will have to pay the couple up to $150,000 per the Interim Order.
  • 2 February 2015, Ore. bakery will have to pay same-sex couple up to $150K - By Sara Roth,
  • 24 April 2015, Same-sex couple in Sweet Cakes controversy should receive $135,000, hearings officer says - By George Rede, The Oregonian/OregonLive

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