Marriage Upheld in Washington State

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It’s a great day for marriage and the family!

Bride & groom danicing in street with musician.jpg


The Washington State Supreme Court upheld a state law defining marriage as between one man and one woman. The long anticipated 5-4 ruling came 16 months after the case was argued.

Justice James Johnson wrote:

"This is a difficult case only if a court disregards the text and history of the state and federal constitutions and laws in order to write new laws for our State's citizens. Courts are not granted such powers under our constitutional system. Our oath requires us to uphold the constitution and laws, not rewrite them."

I couldn’t have said it better myself!

UPDATE:
From the Alliance for Marriage:

WASHINGTON, DC - Following the positive examples of New York, Nebraska, Connecticut, Georgia, and Tennessee, the Washington Supreme Court today upheld marriage as the union between a man and a woman in Washington State. The Alliance for Marriage, who drafted the Marriage Protection Amendment, today celebrated the Washington State Supreme Court decision protecting marriage as between a man and a woman. "Most Americans believe that gays and lesbians have a right to live as they choose. But they don't believe they have a right to redefine marriage for our entire society," said Daniels. "Americans want our laws to send a positive message to children about marriage, family and their future."

The Washington State Decision

In a ruling that reflects the language of the amicus brief filed in the State of Washington last year, by the Alliance for Marriage, Supreme Court Justice James Johnson wrote: "This is a difficult case only if a court disregards the text and history of the state and federal constitutions and laws in order to write new laws for our State's citizens. Courts are not granted such powers under our constitutional system. Our oath requires us to uphold the constitution and laws, not rewrite them." The original amicus brief filed by AFM in Washington State argued that the legislature of Washington was fully entitled to protect marriage as an institution that seeks to ensure that more children will be raised in a home with a mother and a father.

The Battle is far from being over!

The New Jersey state Supreme Court, which could issue a ruling at any time, remains poised to strike down marriage. Lawsuits are also pending in California, Iowa, Oklahoma and Maryland. "While we applaud today's court decision in Washington, radical activists will remain undeterred in their attacks on marriage in state and federal courts," said Matt Daniels, president of the Alliance for Marriage. "It is important to remember that the battle to protect marriage is a marathon not a sprint, and AFM's Marriage Protection Amendment is clearly the only hope for the American people to determine the future of marriage under our laws."

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16 Comments

Moderate 5-19 said:

State, after state, after state, upholds marriage between one man and one woman.

The states seem to not need the Constitution amended.

I could not have said it better either! This is a great victory for marriage.

Let's not forget that two lower courts in the state did rule differently, highlighting the fact that we in Virginia need to pass our marriage amendment this fall to keep state courts from declaring our ban "Unconstitutional."

Gnossis said:

And still the question remains (and still Sophrosyne continues to dodge or ignore it):

Why should I, a married, straight, male, want to vote in favor of an amendment that has no effect on me whatsoever?

If any of you amendment proponents would like to attempt to address this, I'm most interested in reading what you have to say.

I do not understand how this is a victory for marriage. If heterosexual marriages are so strong, they should be able to withstand no matter what other committed couples have their relationship recognized. Also, marriage is most definitely "saved" because the divorce rate is still hovers around 50%.

10th District Conservative said:

Gnossis,

If you believe that marriage is and ought to be between one man and one woman, then you should support the amendment. If you don't, then you shouldn't. Not so hard, eh?

Every law is intended to have a social effect, either by affecting or averting affectation of some change. In this case, it is the later situation.

Whether or not the Marriage Amendment effects you personally in some immediate way, it does affect the culture in which you live. Can a fish not breathe the water it swims in? How about the baby fish?

Why do you not apply your reasoning to all other legislative efforts? Or maybe you do, I don't know. Surely, most reasonable persons do not oppose legislation because they do not perceive its immediate influence on them.

Let us consider a contract between consenting adults: the payday loan. I recently received correspondence from an advocacy group on this subject. It seems that until 2002, the interest on micro loans was capped at 36%. Now, the payday lender is able to collect 180% interest from their average customer (who borrows 12x/yr). The borrower who borrows on a weekly basis can end up paying 780%. The director of the VA Poverty Law Center cries foul. These lenders are trapping people into a cycle of debt, he protests.

But according to your theory of political action, I shouldn't be concerned, right? After all, both the lender and borrower are consenting adults and the contract is legal, right? And I am a highly responsible, gainfully employed adult who has a little extra saved up for hard times and has never darkened the door of a payday lenders establishment. Who cares if people are being hurt or society is being damaged? Who cares if a poor single mom has to choose between buying school supplies for her child and paying the interest on her loan?

Do you get my point? I'm not comparing same-sex relationships to exorbitant usury (for those of you who can't follow my analogy). I'm simply asking Gnossis if he really holds that it is only appropriate to care about policy which has a direct affect on oneself.

Care to reply, sir?

You are correct, 1oth District Conservative. I am straight, but I have personally found this amendment offensive. (I'm not trying to plug my opinion on the topic, in this comment at least. I'm just trying to show that a person should care about the topic even if it doesn't relate to themself.)

Gnossis said:

10th Dist,

Well met :-) The depth and thoughtfulness of your response is refreshing.

Do you get my point?

Of course.

I'm simply asking Gnossis if he really holds that it is only appropriate to care about policy which has a direct affect on oneself.

And of course not. The question I posed was specifically in response to Sophrosyne's allegation that "Virginians have nothing to lose and everything to gain" by passing this amendment. I--and hopefully everyone of voting age--regularly use my right to vote in order to voice my opinion on a wide variety of matters, regardless of the effect (or lack thereof) the particular legislation or initiative might have on my life. But when I do cast a vote on such matters, I consider the rationale driving the particular measure, and I consider the overall ramifications on society. E.g., I'd vote against cutting funds to the county schools, despite being childless (for now, anyway); I'd vote for improvements to state infrastructure even though my immediate area may not see any direct effects; and to draw on your example, I'd vote for capping interest rates on payday loans, despite being gainfully employed with plenty of money saved.

Returning to your example, if lenders are able to collect 150+% (per loan) in interest from people living paycheck-to-paycheck, I would argue (and I think you'd agree) that one should vote to reign-in those interest rates if not on some form of moral grounds, then on the grounds that such high interest rates effectively trap regular borrowers in a level of poverty, which in effect puts pressure on the welfare aspects of our society, ultimately passing the cost on to the comfortably-wealthy taxpayer (albeit indirectly, and maybe not in a substantial way). If the interest cap legislation fails, the impoverished are less likely to recover from their debt.

With the DOMA, if the legislation passes, a small segment of society will be prohibited from enjoying the same legal recognition that my wife and I take for granted, but to what end? I cannot see how the amendment benefits anyone or protects anyone from some great harm or evil. Sophrosyne, et al, regularly parrot some version of the phrase "let the people decide and not some activist judge." Given that there are already statutes in place that prohibit homosexual marriage, why is this a matter that has to be "decided"? What horrible ill would the DOMA thwart? What perceived moral reason/obligation is there for dogpiling prohibitive legislation on a tiny minority of law-abiding citizens?

NoVA Scout said:

Gnossis:

There are essentially three groups of supporters of Marshall-Newman: 1)those who realize that it has no practical effect, but find it politically useful to have a facially traditional ballot measure to attract main-stream "cultural" voters in November (voters who will presumably support favorable candidates; and 2) those with little time to reflect who have been led by those in Group 1) to think that this amendment has protective qualities that will positively influence their lives; and 3) (could be some overlap here with Groups 1) and 2)), folks who really despise homosexuals and what they see as an alternate "culture" arising within the homosexual community and want to inflict a good dose of oppression on that group. Of these categories, only Group 2 really believes that this has anything to do with "defending" marriage. And that's just because of labeling and political hype. "Marriage", an estate already defined by statute as a 1 man/1 woman deal, will do fine (or at least no worse) without the amendment. These pretty folks in Sophrosyne's pictures (and you and I and everyone else) will do just fine without this ugliness being sewn on to our Constitution.

Jonathan said:

Sophrosyne, care to add a caption to the photo? How about:

Hooray! We're so happy gays can't "marry". Isn't everybody?

I like the way you cherry picked the majority opinion. Please note this language:

We see no reason, however, why the legislature or the people acting through the intiative process would be foreclosed from extending the right to marry to gay and lesbian couples in Washington.

Don't you fee slighted that the judges said "extending" rather than "redefining"? Either that was an activist [sic - "conservatives" disagree with it] statement, or it's common knowledge that covenants between same-sex couples are morally neutral which brings us to 10th Districts Conservative.

10Con, The loan use case that you mention is predicated on an unequal, usrurious and immoral power relationship between lender and borrower. That is very different from a "til death do we part" marriage vow. Please stop comparing marriage equality with immoral relations (Dr. Mike Adams too). It's a tired old trick that will only work on the ignorant, the superstitious and the prejudiced.

Regarding contracts, I issued a challenge to conservatives that has not been addressed by anybody. You're welcome to comment. It can be found here:

http://www.equalityloudoun.org/?p=323

Sophrosyne said:

Jonathan-- This isn't my post, it is Aislinn's post… but I take your assumption that it was mine as a compliment, thank you!

10th District Conservative-- Well said! Thanks for coming by and posting! We here on the blog often get tunnel vision/blog fatigue after hammering away at this issue for so long… it’s great to get some fresh pro-marriage perspective.

Given that there are already statutes in place that prohibit homosexual marriage, why is this a matter that has to be "decided"? What horrible ill would the DOMA thwart? What perceived moral reason/obligation is there for dogpiling prohibitive legislation on a tiny minority of law-abiding citizens?

G-man-- We've been having this discussion for months now. You're entitled to disagree with our view that marriage is the union of a man and a woman and that government has a vested interest in protecting the institution as such... but please don't act like we haven't addressed the question. We clearly have a fundamental disagreement on two key issues (which you highlight above): A) The seriousness of the threat judicial activism in relation to the definition of marriage and related red-herring arguments that the amendment will destroy contract rights, and B) Why society has a vested interest in protecting marriage from radical redefinition. In my view (and I’ve expressed this before) the top priority between now and November 7th is addressing “question A” because most Virginians won’t benefit from a dialogue on the value of a mom and a dad and marriage as the union of the two complementary parts of the human organism and foundation of the family… they already see/know the obvious. Rather, the priority is in addressing the need for the amendment and the red-herring arguments being touted by the anti-Marriage Amendment folks. For my prior discussion on this, go here:

http://www.novatownhall.com/blog/2006/07/carnival_of_wijf_marriage_amen_1.php#comment-3137

Thanks for a great post Aislinn!

Sophrosyne said:

From the Alliance for Marriage:

WASHINGTON, DC - Following the positive examples of New York, Nebraska, Connecticut, Georgia, and Tennessee, the Washington Supreme Court today upheld marriage as the union between a man and a woman in Washington State. The Alliance for Marriage, who drafted the Marriage Protection Amendment, today celebrated the Washington State Supreme Court decision protecting marriage as between a man and a woman. "Most Americans believe that gays and lesbians have a right to live as they choose. But they don't believe they have a right to redefine marriage for our entire society," said Daniels. "Americans want our laws to send a positive message to children about marriage, family and their future."

The Washington State Decision

In a ruling that reflects the language of the amicus brief filed in the State of Washington last year, by the Alliance for Marriage, Supreme Court Justice James Johnson wrote: "This is a difficult case only if a court disregards the text and history of the state and federal constitutions and laws in order to write new laws for our State's citizens. Courts are not granted such powers under our constitutional system. Our oath requires us to uphold the constitution and laws, not rewrite them." The original amicus brief filed by AFM in Washington State argued that the legislature of Washington was fully entitled to protect marriage as an institution that seeks to ensure that more children will be raised in a home with a mother and a father.

The Battle is far from being over!

The New Jersey state Supreme Court, which could issue a ruling at any time, remains poised to strike down marriage. Lawsuits are also pending in California, Iowa, Oklahoma and Maryland. "While we applaud today's court decision in Washington, radical activists will remain undeterred in their attacks on marriage in state and federal courts," said Matt Daniels, president of the Alliance for Marriage. "It is important to remember that the battle to protect marriage is a marathon not a sprint, and AFM's Marriage Protection Amendment is clearly the only hope for the American people to determine the future of marriage under our laws."

FYI

Gnossis said:

We've been having this discussion for months now.

Soph,

Actually, you've been repeating the same three things for months now:

1) Must pass amendment to stop "activist" judges.

2) Must pass amendment to sink opposition's alleged red herring arguments.

3) Must pass amendment to protect children.

Repetition hardly constitutes discussion, and to me it indicates a lack of willingness or ability to put any real thought and analysis into one's argument. This is my final attempt to draw some sort of real, thoughtful response rather than the same canned talking points re-worded and passed-off as substantial or different than before.

Paralleling the 3 items I listed above:

1) To date, Massachusetts is the exception and not the rule in these cases. Can you point to anything in the judicial history of the current justices sitting on the VA Sup. Ct. that would suggest a majority of them are socially liberal enough to override existing statutes? How is this argument different from the scaremongering you allege of the amendment's opponents?

2) This makes the least sense of all. "We must pass this because they are against it"? If the amendment is worthy of ratification, it should be able to stand on its own merits and not need to be justified based on the dissenting opinions of its opponents.

3) Like I've said before (and like you've ignored before), a homosexual couple, married or not, by definition, cannot procreate. Children only enter into the equation via adoption. Current VA statute prohibits same-sex couples from adopting. Arguing that this amendment is somehow pro-child is, in fact, a red herring.

My point is that, historically, unnecessarily restricting the rights of law-abiding individuals has never benefitted society. Ours has existed for over two centuries now. Do we really think it is now so weak that our culture will be utterly destroyed if homosexuals are afforded the same legal rights to marriage as heterosexuals?

I've said my peace on this. If anyone has anything new to add to the discussion (which I doubt), I might chime in; otherwise, I'll stick to debating other topics.

Uh oh.

That guy in the background? Playing guitar?

I think he's an illegal immigrant.

Nooooooooooooooo!

Sophrosyne said:

Waldo... haha, gracias amigo! I'll call the Minutemen ASAP!

G-man,

Ouch! Such stinging (and IMHO patently false) criticism! Your broad and inaccurate generalizations gloss over so much of our dialogue here… but the beautiful thing about a blog is that everything is out there for all to see… people can read past dialogue and decide for themselves.

Beyond your sweeping effort to minimize some of the arguments presented (and I must say that going back to the central arguments in favor of the Marriage Amendment “hardly constitutes” mere repetition lacking any substance… and if it did both sides of this debate would be guilty as charged) I find this one the most telling:

3) Like I've said before (and like you've ignored before), a homosexual couple, married or not, by definition, cannot procreate. Children only enter into the equation via adoption. Current VA statute prohibits same-sex couples from adopting. Arguing that this amendment is somehow pro-child is, in fact, a red herring.

First, thank you for pointing out the obvious… only a heterosexual couple can procreate (and thus the heterosexual union of one-man and one-woman, formalized in civil-marriage, is the natural foundation of the family in our civil society). This simple truth reflects a natural order (or one could even say Natural law) and helps to explain why marriage and procreation, while not necessarily co-dependent, are explicitly related and interwoven throughout human history. Children need a mother and a father and both play irreplaceable roles beyond simply conceiving a child in utero (and I suppose this is one of our areas of disagreement). Anyways… you completely ignore in-vitro fertilization, claiming adoption is the only method for same-sex couples to obtain children (maybe you weren’t thinking about women?)… and you neglect to point out that while VA statute bans same-sex couples from adopting… an individual can adopt. Thus, adoption is still an open avenue for same-sex couples to obtain children, albeit without joint custody. These are realities you seem to be ignoring in the above statement (while simultaneously claiming I’ve ignored the fact that only a man and a woman can procreate?). But here is the impact in regards to the Marriage Amendment and protecting marriage...

It is an undeniable fact that if same-sex couples, through litigation and activist judges, succeeded in redefining marriage and forcing government to grant their relationship equal status (legal and otherwise) as married couples… it would become much easier for these same-sex couples create or obtain children and thus willfully deny them a mother or a father. Do you disagree? If, like me, you believe gender is not irrelevant and children are healthiest when they have a mom AND a dad… then it makes sense to support civil recognition or marriage as the union of one man and one woman and not sanction and encourage as equal to marriage relationships that deny children a mom or dad. And one needs to only look at Massachusetts to see that once marriage is redefined, adoption groups that recognize this truth and strive to place children exclusively in the healthiest environment are basically run out of the business (that’s just one example of how we can see that sanctioning civil same-sex “marriage” does have an impact…).

I’ve rambled a bit above but you get the drift. I think it is very foolish to reject the relationship between marriage and children. You may believe that having a mom and a dad is not important… and that 2 moms or 2 dads (or why not 3 or 4!) can easily replace this natural ordering reflected in human biology… but that is another argument wholly independent of the argument over the relationship between marriage and children (which you seem to be rejecting above).
Now back to your regularly scheduled programming…

etranger said:

It's just another sad day for all gays and lesbians and their children. But hey! They HAVE children and these children will grow up, with voting power. AS long as there won't be any referendum trying to cast out children of gays and lesbians, they can wait.

Jonathan said:

Aislinn,

I apologize for attributing this post to Sophrosyne, and to readers of this blog for giving Sophrosyne the opportunity to back-slap, redirect and ignore good-faith arguments.

Aislinn and 10th District Conservative, please take a look at my comment at:

http://www.novatownhall.com/blog/2006/07/marriage_upheld_in_washington.php#comment-4056

As for the "natural law" argument of Sophrosyne, David takes that on at Bacon's Rebellion and also in the "oops" post, and heck, in many other posts over at http://www.equalityloudoun.org.

For an analysis of Gender Bipolarity, See:

http://www.baconsrebellion.com/Issues06/07-24/Weintraub.php

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