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Same-sex marriage (SSM) & domestic partnerships

Washington Supreme Court ruling

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Washington Supreme Court:

The State appealed both the Thurston and King County cases to the Washington State Supreme Court. Washington Evangelicals for Responsible Government predicted that:

"The Thurston and King County cases will be consolidated and appealed to the Washington Supreme Court. The attorneys for the same-sex couples, the Attorney General's office, and the King County prosecutor's office have agreed to an expedited appeal, which means the Supreme Court may hear oral arguments in [2004-] December." 1

The cases were delayed until 2004-MAR. Because of their similarity, they were heard together.

bullet2005-MAR-08: Oral arguments: Oral arguments were heard on MAR-08 before the Washington Supreme Court in the Andersen and Castle cases. The plaintiffs were backed by the Northwest Women's Law Center, Lambda Legal and ACLU-WA.
bullet2005-DEC-21: Court decision expected: According to Focus on the Family, the state's supreme court could announce its decision as soon as DEC-29. Equal Rights Washington, the state's largest gay-positive group, is organizing committed same-sex couples to marry as soon as possible if the court decides in their favor.

Lynn Wardle, a law professor at Brigham Young University, speculated about the motivation for the group to have many same-sex couples marry quickly. He said: "It certainly does make it a little more difficult to persuade people because the argument will be asserted, 'Well, you're taking away rights that the court gave us'." It is certainly a lot simpler do deny equal rights to a group of people than it is to forcibly divorce hundreds of loving, committed couples against their will.

In late 2005-DEC, Focus on the Family staff speculated that a sudden influx of many same-sex couples seeking to marry could generate a circus atmosphere at the registry office. Focus suggests that this could give the impression that the couples were not taking marriage seriously.

What was truly remarkable about this article on Focus on the Family web site is its title. It says simply: "Washington May be the Next to 'OK' Gay Marriage." Every other conservative Christian news source that we have seen has always put "marriage" in quotation marks in instances like this. They apparently do this to indicate that they don't really regard same-sex marriage as a real marriage. In this instance, Focus abandoned the quotation marks, implying that same-sex marriage is valid. This is a remarkable development....or perhaps an oversight. The quotation marks were still missing, as of 2006-MAR-31. 2
bullet2006-MAR-25: Court decision still expected "soon:" Focus on the Family repeated its expectation that "The state Supreme Court of Washington is expected to rule on gay marriage" shortly. 3
bullet2006-MAR-31: Human Rights Campaign anticipates ruling: Brad Luna of the gay-positive group Human Rights Campaign, said: "Washington state's Supreme Court right now, any day, is going to deliver their ruling on marriage, so it's something that we've been waiting for a while now to happen." 4
bullet2006-JUL-26: State supreme court finds DOMA to be constitutional: The court decided by a vote of  6 to 3 that the state's Defense of Marriage Act does not violate the Washington State Constitution. This decision overturns trial court decisions in King and Thurston Superior Courts in this case. Justice Barbara Madsen wrote:

"...the legislature was entitled to believe that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples furthers the State's legitimate interest in procreation and the well-being of children...[Our] decision is not based on an independent determination of what we believe that law should be. A judge's role when deciding a case...is to measure the challenged law against the constitution and the cases that have applied the constitution. Personal views must not interfere with the judge's responsibility to decide cases as a judge and not as a legislator." 5,6

References used in this essay:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Washington judge rules against gay marriage ban," CNN.com Law Center, 2004-SEP-07, at: http://edition.cnn.com/
  2. "Washington May be the Next to 'OK' Gay Marriage," CitizenLink, Focus on the Family, 2005-DEC-21, at: http://www.family.org/
  3. "New Marriage Poll Doesn't Tell Whole Story," CitizenLink, Focus on the Family, 2006-MAR-24, at: http://www.family.org/
  4. Jason Szep, "Gay marriage battles loom across US," Yahoo! News, 2006-APR-01. at: http://news.yahoo.com/
  5. "Washington Supreme Court Rules Defense of Marriage Act Does Not Violate State Constitution," Court press release, 2006-JUL-26, at: http://www.courts.wa.gov/
  6. "Andersen v. King Co., Nos. 75934-1, 75956-1 (Wash. July 26, 2006)," 2006-JUL-26, at: http://www.courts.wa.gov/

Copyright © 2005 to 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2009-JUL-29
Author: B.A. Robinson

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