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Gay Rights Supporters Gather Ahead Of Landmark Court Hearing

Karen Richards

Late Tuesday afternoon, gay rights supporters in seven cities around Oregon gathered for a vigil ahead of a landmark court case.  A federal judge in Eugene will hear oral arguments Wednesday afternoon challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

Eugene resident Clark Compton has been volunteering with the pro-same-sex marriage group Oregon United for Marriage for the past year.  

Compton: "My daughter is a lesbian, and we have five children and our other four children are all married.  And she cannot get married in the state of Oregon because she's a lesbian.  So my wife and I started working through our church primarily to support the freedom to marry for same sex couples."

Compton spoke to KLCC just minutes after speaking at a vigil in front of the Federal Court House in Eugene on Tuesday evening.  He says as many as 200 people gathered with a message of support.  

Compton:  "And we're feeling optimistic that when the hearing takes place we will, in fact, win that."

The Oregon Attorney General announced back in February that the state would not defend the voter-approved Constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.  But on Monday, the conservative National Organization for Marriage filed a last minute motion, requesting to defend the law.  

Judge Michael McShane ruled Tuesday that he would consider the groups motion to intervene in mid-May.  But oral arguments will go forward as scheduled on Wednesday.

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