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Washington State's Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Gay Marriage

After the high courts in the states of New York, Georgia, Nebraska, Connecticut, and Tennessee all ruled in favor of traditional marriage, Washington state's Supreme Court did the same by upholding its state ban same sex marriage:

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Washington state's highest court upheld a ban on same-sex marriage on Wednesday, ruling by a 5-4 majority that the legislature had the power to limit marriage to one man and one woman.


Nineteen gay and lesbian couples had challenged the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, a law passed by the state legislature in 1998 to restrict marriage to heterosexual couples.

The state Supreme Court's lead opinion stressed it was ruling on the constitutionality of the law, not on the issue of gay marriage itself. It saw no reason why the rights of marriage should not be extended for gays and lesbians through a state ballot.

"It is important to note that the court's role is limited to determining the constitutionality of DOMA," Justice Barbara Madsen wrote. "Our decision is not based on an independent determination of what we believe the law should be."

The court's ruling was the latest blow to U.S. gay marriage advocates. Earlier this month, New York's highest court ruled that the state Constitution does not guarantee same-sex couples equal access to the rights and privileges of marriage.

The New Jersey state Supreme Court is expected to make its ruling on gay marriage very soon and a number of other states have cases pending.


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Comments (6)

It's still a bit early to s... (Below threshold)
d_Brit:

It's still a bit early to say definitively but it appears that SSM will be determined in the proper venue. Before the voters.

In time it will pass because of demographics, as younger voters have bought overwhelmingly into the SSM argument.

But in a democracy the voters decide and by keeping it to as legislative arena the 'permanence' of SSM only remains as long as the majority view it as a positive arrangement.

hooray for my state! altho... (Below threshold)

hooray for my state! although i agree with d_brit...if it ever makes it onto the ballot, odds are that the folks in our fairly blue state--or, at the very least, the people in king county--will probably pass it. still, though, it's nice to know that our supreme court has some respect for the law.

One important thing to note... (Below threshold)

One important thing to note, which both sides of the issue seem to be ignoring, was that this wasn't a ruling on whether or not gay marriage should be legal... this was a ruling as to whether the state legislature has the power to define marriage. The court affirmed that they do. The court also made it very clear that the legislature or an initiative of the voters could alter that definition in the future.

Oh, my!Andrew Sull... (Below threshold)

Oh, my!

Andrew Sullivan must be beside himself tonight! Do be a love, and stop by to take him a nice cup of chamomile tea, won't you?

:-)

this wasn't a ruling on ... (Below threshold)

this wasn't a ruling on whether or not gay marriage should be legal

Nor is it the courts' role to make such a determination.

In time it will pass bec... (Below threshold)
OregonMuse:

In time it will pass because of demographics, as younger voters have bought overwhelmingly into the SSM argument.

Well, that's one argument. For an argument as to why the demographics are actually against items on the liberal agenda such as SSM, click here.




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