Geiger v. Kitzhaber
(Consolidated with Rummel and West v. Kitzhaber)
On May 19, 2014, Judge Michael McShane struck down Oregon’s discriminatory state constitutional amendment that denies committed gay couples the freedom to marry, ruling that it violates the U.S. Constitution. The decision took effect immediately, and same-sex couples began marrying. Since no defendant with standing appealed the ruling, Oregon became the 19th jurisdiction with the freedom to marry.
On October 15, 2013, private lawyers filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of two same-sex couples in Oregon challenging laws in Oregon that restrict the freedom to marry to different-sex couples. On December 19, 2013, a separate federal lawsuit, Rummel and West v. Kitzhaber, on behalf of two same-sex couples who wish to marry in Oregon was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Oregon, and volunteer counsel from the law firms of Johnson, Johnson & Schaller, PC and Perkins Coie, LLP.
The plaintiffs in the Geiger case are Deanna Geiger and Janine Nelson - who want to be able to legally marry in Oregon - and Robert Deuhmig and William Griesar, who were legally married in Vancouver and want the state of Oregon to respect their marriage. The plaintiffs in Rummel and West include Paul Rummell & Ben West and Lisa Chickadonz & Christine Tanner. West and Rummell have been together for seven years, and they serve as foster parents to a young boy. Chickadonz and Tanner have been together for nearly 30 years, have raised two children, and are an integral part of their church community.
On January 23, a judge consolidated Geiger with Rummel and West v. Kitzhaber, scheduling oral arguments for April 23, 2014.