More than 16 months after hearing arguments in a consolidated case, the Washington Supreme Court ruled against same-gender marriage.
I have downloaded (.pdf versions) the decision as well as all the concurring and dissenting opinions. I’ve read the decision, highlighting and noting key points along the way. Essentially, the court ruled that the state, by way of enacting DOMA in 1998, had a legitimate interest (promoting procreation and providing a nurturing environment for children) in granting special rights (marriage) on heterosexuals. The court also said that gays and lesbians are not discriminated against because they have the same right as everyone else to marry someone of the opposite gender.
Further, the court concluded that gays and lesbians are not a “suspect class” meaning needing protection from discrimination. The court’s primary basis for that finding is that gays and lesbians are not “politically powerless” because there are elected officials who are gay or lesbian and that certain laws protecting gays and lesbians have recently been enacted.
All in all, it’s a surprisingly political and basically chicken-shit ruling that, at it’s core, is rooted in the same discriminations the plaintiffs complained about in the first place.
I am deeply disappointed and discouraged, and frankly, disgusted in the ruling, particularly because Washington is a relatively liberal state. This result, combined with a similar ruling in New York recently, are significant setbacks on this issue. However, it solidifies the opinion that James and I have shared for many years that the segments of our LGBT community pushing for marriage (now) are mis-guided in their efforts. We have come a very long way in the past ten or so years. We are continuing to experiencing a rising pushback that started a few years ago and shows no signs of abating. Our efforts should be focused on achieving civil unions so that we can have some rights sooner rather than none at all. Once we have rights via civil unions then we can work on the next step.