Minutes after I posted, the Washington Supreme Court issued its decision. Essentially, it went the way of New York State and tossed the issue back to the legislature. Here’s the relevant quote:
“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.”
In the next few hours the Washington State Supreme Court will issue its decision in Anderson vs. King County, a lawsuit brought by 19 gay and lesbian couples challenging the constitutionality of Washington’s Defense of Marriage Act. Coming off the heels of a defeat in New York State, the decision will be closely watched by gay marriage advocates and opponents alike.
According to lawyers I spoke with, the Court can decide to uphold the DOMA, strike down the DOMA and legalize gay marriage, or follow New York’s footsteps and pass the issue to the legislature. I’ll give you all an update (and hasty analysis) when the decision is announced.
Meanwhile, I want to announce the public debut of a major project I’ve been working on for the past few months. In April, I was part of a group of LGBT activists who met to discuss the dangers of the gay marriage debate as it’s been framed in this country. There were some disagreements, but all of us agreed on a basic set of principles. We support marriage equality, but think that “marriage is not the only worthy form of family or relationship, and it should not be legally and economically privileged above all others.”
We wrote a manifesto of sorts called Beyond Same-Sex Marriage. And as today it’s been endorsed by Gloria Steinem, Dorothy Allison, Cornel West, Michael Lerner, Barbara Ehrenreich, Laura Flanders, The Nation‘s own Betsy Reed, Judith Butler, Joan Scott, Charlotte Bunch, Leslie Feinberg, Craig Lucas, Armistead Maupin, Terrence McNally, Paula Vogel, Susie Bright and a raft of others. So go to our website, read the statement and add your name. It’s www.beyondmarriage.org.