Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Washington Gay Marriage News....

Taken from Gay Way Together

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Gay and lesbian couples today asked the state Supreme Court to reconsider its endorsement of Washington'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, but attorneys in the case said the stakes were too high to let the opportunity pass.
"We felt that we had to use every option available to us to show the justices the logic behind our arguments and how their decision, as it is currently reasoned, falls short," said Nancy Sapiro of the Northwest Women's Law Center, a plaintiffs' attorney.
The Supreme Court's 5-4 decision, issued last month, 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.
Because there were no federal legal issues raised in the case, an appeal beyond the state Supreme Court is not an option — likely making Tuesday's motion the last stand for gay-marriage advocates in state court.
Lawyers for the 19 couples in the combined gay marriage case relied on a pair of legal arguments in their motion asking the court to reconsider.
The court's finding that the Legislature had a "rational basis" for seeking to regulate marriage was flawed, plaintiffs argued.
"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.
Davidson acknowledged that the statehouse remains an option for gay marriage supporters, but said the courts must be available to protect a minority's rights.
"We have a court to protect the rights of minorities when the Legislature doesn't want to," he said.
The Northwest Women's Law Center, Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union filed the motion just before Tuesday evening's deadline for such requests expired.
The court could ask the state for a written response, schedule new oral arguments, or simply reject the request, lawyers said.
Some gay marriage opponents were dubious of the motion's chances. Joseph Fuiten, whose conservative Faith and Freedom Network intervened in the case, said every conceivable legal argument already had been aired.
"This took a long time. We waited forever to get this decision, and we really don't need to do this thing all over again," Fuiten said. "We've been there, we've done that."

Too bad Fuiten...Swallow it like a real man and then shut the fuck up!

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