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Author Topic: Washington State Supreme Court Upholds Legislative Ban on Same-Sex Marriage  (Read 3661 times)

2Lacoste

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Opinion just released (http://www.courts.wa.gov/opinions/?fa=opinions.recent):

MADSEN, J. - The trial courts in these consolidated cases held that
the provisions of Washington's 1998 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that
prohibit same-sex marriages are facially unconstitutional under the
privileges and immunities and due process clauses of the Washington State
Constitution.  King County and the State of Washington have appealed.  The
plaintiffs-respondents, gay and lesbian couples, renew their constitutional
arguments made to the trial courts, including a claim that DOMA violates
the Equal Rights Amendment.
     
The two cases before us require us to decide whether the legislature
has the power to limit marriage in Washington State to opposite-sex
couples.  The state constitution and controlling case law compel us to
answer "yes," and we therefore reverse the trial courts.
     
In reaching this conclusion, we have engaged in an exhaustive
constitutional inquiry and have deferred to the legislative branch as
required by our tri-partite form of government.  Our decision accords with
the substantial weight of authority from courts considering similar
constitutional claims.  We see no reason, however, why the legislature or
the people acting through the initiative process would be foreclosed from
extending the right to marry to gay and lesbian couples in Washington.
It is important to note that the court's role is limited to determining the
constitutionality of DOMA and that our decision is not based on an
independent determination of what we believe the law should be.  United
States Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens talked about the court's
role when he described several noteworthy opinions he had written or joined
while "convinced that the law compelled a result that {he} would have
opposed if {he} were a legislator."  John Paul Stevens, United States
Supreme Court Justice, Judicial Predilections, Address to the Clark County
Bar Association, Las Vegas, Nev. 2 (Aug. 18, 2005).  As Justice Stevens
explained, a judge's understanding of the law is a separate and distinct
matter from his or her personal views about sound policy.  Id. at 17.
     
A judge's role when deciding a case, including the present one, 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.
This, after all, is one of the three legs supporting the rule of law.
Here, the solid body of constitutional law disfavors the conclusion that
there is a right to marry a person of the same sex.  It may be a measure of
this fact that Justice Fairhurst's dissent is replete with citation to
dissenting and concurring opinions, and that, in the end, it cites very
little case law that, without being overstated, supports its conclusions.
Perhaps because of the nature of the issue in this case and the strong
feelings it brings to the front, some members of the court have
uncharacteristically been led to depart significantly from the court's
limited role when deciding constitutional challenges.  For example, Justice
Fairhurst's dissent declines to apply settled principles for reviewing the
legislature's acts and instead decides for itself what the public policy of
this state should be.  Justice Bridge's dissent claims that gay marriage
will ultimately be on the books and that this court will be criticized for
having failed to overturn DOMA.  But, while same-sex marriage may be the
law at a future time, it will be because the people declare it to be, not
because five members of this court have dictated it.1  Justice J.M.
Johnson's concurrence, like Justice Fairhurst's dissent, also ignores the
proper standards for reviewing legislation.  And readers unfamiliar with
appellate court review may not realize the extent to which this concurrence
departs from customary procedures because, among other things, it merely
repeats the result and much of the reasoning of the court's decision on
most issues, thus adding unnecessarily to the length of the opinions.
     
In brief, unless a law is a grant of positive favoritism to a minority
class, we apply the same constitutional analysis under the state
constitution's privileges and immunities clause that is applied under the
federal constitution's equal protection clause.  DOMA does not grant a
privilege or immunity to a favored minority class, and we accordingly apply
the federal analysis.  The plaintiffs have not established that they are
members of a suspect class or that they have a fundamental right to
marriage that includes the right to marry a person of the same sex.
Therefore, we apply the highly deferential rational basis standard of
review to the legislature's decision that only opposite-sex couples are
entitled to civil marriage in this state.  Under this standard, DOMA is
constitutional because the legislature was entitled to believe that
limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples furthers procreation, essential
to survival of the human race, and furthers the well-being of children by
encouraging families where children are reared in homes headed by the
children's biological parents.  Allowing same-sex couples to marry does
not, in the legislature's view, further these purposes.2  Accordingly,
there is no violation of the privileges and immunities clause.
     
There also is no violation of the state due process clause.  DOMA
bears a reasonable relationship to legitimate state interests --
procreation and child-rearing.  Nor do we find DOMA invalid as a violation
of privacy interests protected by article I, section 7 of the Washington
State Constitution.  The people of Washington have not had in the past nor,
at this time, are they entitled to an expectation that they may choose to
marry a person of the same sex.
     
Finally, DOMA does not violate the state constitution's equal rights
amendment because that provision prohibits laws that render benefits to or
restrict or deny rights of one sex.  DOMA treats both sexes the same;
neither a man nor a woman may marry a person of the same sex.
Mets will take the NL Pennant.

redemption

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Hahaha. I love it when bigotry is dressed in its sunday best.

faith2005

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rational basis review--limiting marriage to opposite sex couples furthers procreation--essential to the survival of the human race. sounds like something else I read recently on my friend's facebook page...if we allow same-sex couples to marry then it will mark the end of civilization as we know it. period.

"If our buildings, our highways, and our railroads should be wrecked, we could rebuild them. If our cities should be destroyed, out of the very ruins we could erect newer and greater ones. Even if our armed might should be crushed, we could rear sons who would redeem our power. But if the blood of our White race should become corrupted and mingled with the blood of Africa, then the present greatness of the United States of America would be destroyed and all hope for civilization would be as impossible for a Negroid America as would be redemption and restoration of the Whiteman's blood which had been mixed with that of the Negro."
(Senator Theodore G. Bilbo, of Mississippi in 1947)

A.

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Lacoste, I think you should create a thread entitled "Lacoste's News Articles" and post all of them in there.  Don't worry; we'll read it ;).

redemption

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rational basis review--limiting marriage to opposite sex couples furthers procreation--essential to the survival of the human race. sounds like something else I read recently on my friend's facebook page...if we allow same-sex couples to marry then it will mark the end of civilization as we know it. period.

"If our buildings, our highways, and our railroads should be wrecked, we could rebuild them. If our cities should be destroyed, out of the very ruins we could erect newer and greater ones. Even if our armed might should be crushed, we could rear sons who would redeem our power. But if the blood of our White race should become corrupted and mingled with the blood of Africa, then the present greatness of the United States of America would be destroyed and all hope for civilization would be as impossible for a Negroid America as would be redemption and restoration of the Whiteman's blood which had been mixed with that of the Negro."
(Senator Theodore G. Bilbo, of Mississippi in 1947)

Faith -- you're the best. Seriously.

Nemesis

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rational basis review--limiting marriage to opposite sex couples furthers procreation--essential to the survival of the human race. sounds like something else I read recently on my friend's facebook page...if we allow same-sex couples to marry then it will mark the end of civilization as we know it. period.

"If our buildings, our highways, and our railroads should be wrecked, we could rebuild them. If our cities should be destroyed, out of the very ruins we could erect newer and greater ones. Even if our armed might should be crushed, we could rear sons who would redeem our power. But if the blood of our White race should become corrupted and mingled with the blood of Africa, then the present greatness of the United States of America would be destroyed and all hope for civilization would be as impossible for a Negroid America as would be redemption and restoration of the Whiteman's blood which had been mixed with that of the Negro."
(Senator Theodore G. Bilbo, of Mississippi in 1947)


Because we'll all suddenly become homosexuals??   :D
Who's your Daddy now?

faith2005

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exactly annabel. allowing same-sex marriage will stop procreation. i'll want to have sex with miss p if we allow lesbians to get married. because clearly thats the only thing holding me back from getting with a girl.

mivida2k

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We will ignore that the "greatness" of America is because of that Negro.  I like how folks have forgotten that the original man and woman were created and lived in Africa.

DNA tests for all who don't think that they have any "negro" blood in them.  

My father has suggested that lesbians and gay men each be placed on separate islands to test the procreation theory. 
The president's approval rating has dropped to 33 percent, matching his low in May. His handling of nearly every issue, from the Iraq war to foreign policy, contributed to the president's decline around the nation, even in the Republican-friendly South.

Nemesis

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exactly annabel. allowing same-sex marriage will stop procreation. i'll want to have sex with miss p if we allow lesbians to get married. because clearly thats the only thing holding me back from getting with a girl.



ME TOO!!!   :D
Who's your Daddy now?

faith2005

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when you guys read that senator Bilbo quote does anybody else envision him standing on the mountaintop with the lightning flashing behind him?  :D