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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  1. d_Brit July 26, 2006
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