Oregon same-sex marriage ruling expected at noon

A federal judge in Oregon will decide whether state's same-sex marriage ban stays or goes

A federal judge is expected to rule Monday on whether Oregon's same-sex marriage ban is constitutional.

The drama will begin at noon, U.S. District Judge Michael McShane announced last week.

Gay and lesbian advocates in one of the nation's more liberal-leaning states have faced off with Catholics and conservatives who have dug in their heels to protect the state constitutional ban that Oregon voters approved a decade ago.

But in light of developments over the last year, the only surprise might come if McShane does not rule the state's ban unconstitutional.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last summer, not a single federal judge has ruled in favor of state same-sex marriage bans.

In February, the state's Democratic attorney general, Ellen Rosenblum, said she would not defend the ban in court.

Oregon proponents of same-sex marriage have gathered enough signatures to place a measure on the ballot to overturn the ban if need be.

If the ban is struck down Monday, it will almost certainly be appealed to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Such rulings typically have been stayed until they can be reviewed by the federal system's higher courts, giving states' same-sex couples little opportunity to marry before the appeals process plays out.

Staff writer Maria L. LaGanga contributed to this report.

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