Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Washington (State) asked to reconsider ruling

Washington asked to reconsider ruling
Copyright by The Chicago Free Press
September 6, 2006

OLYMPIA, Wash.—Gay and lesbian couples have asked the Washington Supreme Court to reconsider its endorsement of the state’s gay marriage ban, saying the court’s flawed reasoning ignored legal protections against sex discrimination.

Such requests to the high court rarely are granted.

The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision, issued in July, held that state lawmakers were justified in restricting marriage to unions between a man and woman. That decision overruled two lower courts, which had found the state’s 1998 Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.

Lawyers for the 19 couples in the combined gay marriage case said the court’s finding that the legislature had a “rational basis” for seeking to regulate marriage was flawed.

“They couldn’t show any reason how it could hurt opposite-sex couples if same-sex couples get married, or why same-sex couples’ children wouldn’t equally benefit if their parents could get married,’’ said Jon Davidson, a lawyer with the gay rights group Lambda Legal.

The ruling also overlooked an aspect of the state constitution’s sex discrimination protections, the plaintiffs argued, by not recognizing that the gay marriage law treats individuals differently based on their gender—a man can marry a woman, but a woman can’t do the same, Davidson said.

In their writings, three majority justices in the case invited the state legislature to take another look at the gay marriage ban’s effect on same-sex couples.


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