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 Topic: Washington State Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage

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Claude  



Joined: 05 Mar 2003
Posts: 26
Interests: glbtq culture
Physical Location: New Orleans

Posted: 28 Jul 2006, 8:26 am    Post subject: Washington State Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage Reply with quote

On Wednesday, a bitterly divided Washington State Supreme Court rejected equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. In a 5-4 decision that generated five separate opinions, the Court emphasized its need to defer to the legislature. Although the controlling three-judge opinion repeatedly said that the Court understood the difficulties faced by same-sex couples denied the protections of marriage, it was unwilling to direct the legislature to provide appropriate remedies. It did urge the legislature to reconsider the state's marriage laws.

The dissenting justices in the Washington case accused the majority of circular reasoning and of ignoring the discrimination faced by homosexuals.

Justice Mary E. Fairhurst questioned the logic of the majority's contention that the legislature's refusal to grant same-sex couples marriage rights somehow advanced the state's interest in procreation, pointedly asking, “Would giving same-sex couples the same right that opposite-sex couples enjoy injure the state’s interest in procreation and healthy child rearing?”

Justice Bobbe J. Bridge questioned the majority's refusal to enforce equal protection for homosexuals, likening the idea “that it is not our place to require equality for Washington’s gay and lesbian citizens" to condoning racial injustice. Had the majority's opinion prevailed in 1954 on racial issues, “there would have been no Brown v. Board of Education.”

Clearly, the judiciary has been intimidated by the Bush administration's attacks on so-called activist judges. In response to that intimidation, they have practically abandoned the whole idea of equal protection under the law, at least in reference to homosexuals. This is seen most clearly in the majority opinion's strained and unconvincing denial that Washington's "Defense of Marriage Act" was motivated by animus against homosexuals.
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