by Goldy, 07/25/2006, 12:50 PM

David Postman says that tomorrow morning the Washington state Supreme Court will release its long-awaited decision on a challenge to the state’s Defense of Marriage Act.

The decision will not only set the stage for another round of political wrangling over gay marriage, it will give court-watchers a great opportunity to see how the justices handle the most contentious issue this court has dealt with.

Hmm. I’m not sure if the timing of the decision, coming before the election, hints at what’s coming.

Your thoughts?

Just received an email from The Olympian:

At 11 a.m. Thursday, The Olympian will hold an online chat with state Sen. Dan Swecker, R-Rochester, and state Rep. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, about Wednesday morning’s gay marriage ruling by the state Supreme Court. Big implications, obviously, for this fall’s elections, next year’s state Legislature session and even Congress.

Submit us questions for Swecker and Murray at

Oh, and a heads up, The Stranger’s Dan Savage and Eli Sanders will be joining me Sunday night at 8PM to discuss the same subject on 710-KIRO.

48 Responses to “Gay marriage decision coming tomorrow”

1. Vurz spews:

As long as they don’t do like New York and Indiana and use the “Reckless Procreation” rationale:

“Heterosexual intercourse,” the plurality opinion stated, “has a natural tendency to lead to the birth of children; homosexual intercourse does not.” Gays become parents, the opinion said, in a variety of ways, including adoption and artificial insemination, “but they do not become parents as a result of accident or impulse.”

Consequently, “the Legislature could find that unstable relationships between people of the opposite sex present a greater danger that children will be born into or grow up in unstable homes than is the case with same-sex couples.”

To shore up those rickety heterosexual arrangements, “the Legislature could rationally offer the benefits of marriage to opposite-sex couples only.” Since straight relationships are “all too often casual or temporary.”

Of course, restricting rights with happy language has happened before:

In 1873, the United States Supreme Court upheld an Illinois statute prohibiting women from practicing law. Concurring in that judgment, Justice Joseph Bradley observed that the “natural and proper timidity and delicacy” of women better suited them to “the noble and benign offices of wife and mother.”

My hope is that they allow civil unions for homosexual and heterosexual alike. As a realist I have no inclination to be married in a church and until gays are allowed to join with their partners, I won’t be either.

2. klake spews:

Appreciate this. Understand that the people killing us in Iraq aren’t motivated by Gore Vidal or inspired by Susan Sontag or organized by Michael Moore or in cahoots in any way with any of the right’s celebrity piñatas – not literally, not metaphorically, not if you look at it in a certain way, not to any infinitesimal degree, not in any sense, not in any way at all. They do not lead a clandestine international conspiracy of Evil which has corrupted everything in every foreign country plus everything in America not owned by loyal Bush Republican apparatchiks; nor are they members of such a conspiracy; nor does a conspiracy remotely matching that description exist. To think otherwise is, literally and to a very great degree, insanity. It is insane.”

Commentby Daddy Love— 7/25/06@ 2:53 pm

Daddy Love they are killing people just because they want to for religion and all the bull shit you express does not mean a thing to them. Pull your head out of your ass and plan a trip to Iraq and learn something about their world. The more you piss and moan about them the more they want to kill you. Take that funny rabbit with you he can win that war in a few hours The Piss Ants you believe in Michael Moore and his lovely followers are the right folks for them to hate for their present situate ion in life is due to these Hollywood clowns.

3. Vurz spews:

David Wright@45:

“government can neither sanction nor prohibit any compact involving only informed, consenting adults”

This is a great statement as it stands. It gets rid of blue laws for single people, keeps property and violent crimes still criminal, and allows consenting adults to join together as a family unit if they so wish.

It’s in the definition of “involving only” that the “devil in the details” could become a problem.

For example, “Blue Laws” – one could argue that any person in a relationship isn’t just involving themselves when they visit a prostitute, they are involving their partner, albeit indirectly. Not due to “morality” issues, but basically any person you are having sex with now, you are also having sex with all of their partners from the last few years or so, at least in a disease transmission sense.

So, although the partner isn’t involved directly, they could be adversely affected and involved if their partner brought home a disease from this encounter and gave it to them. Since they did not give informed consent, does this move this encounter into the realm of government influence?

The same could be said about affairs for that matter.

I do admit, I’d love to see what this did to divorce proceedings, since anything left out of full information could get the government involved.

How far out would we need to define “involving only” to make this work?

If I were to cut down a tree on my property, that should be fairly straight-forward. Just a compact involving me and the tree guy for an agreed upon price. But… (worse case scenario)

What if it shaded half my (married couple) neighbor’s roof during the heat of summer, helped keep it cool? Now their electricity bill has gone up because of the air-conditioning. They need to keep the house cool per doctor’s orders, because she is sick. Since she can’t work right now, their income has gone down, because he’s the only one bringing home a paycheck. The combination of higher bills and lowered income has created a hardship for them.

Should they have been involved, informed and consenting in the decision to cut down the tree? It affected them adversely.

These examples are a little extreme, I know. But without agreed upon definitions of “involving only”, you get the people in South Carolina, or Mississippi or Bellevue for that matter who can somehow argue that they and their marriage are “adversely affected” by two men or two women that they have never met, and will never meet, getting married or forming a civil union. This of course, makes them somehow “involved”.

Reality, of course, is that it has the same amount of importance to their life together as whether or not my great-great-grandfather liked oatmeal mixed with bran for breakfast.

4. proud leftist spews:

Hell, I think I agree with you. The concept of marriage in our society necessarily conjures up notions of “holy matrimony,” a union sanctioned by God. Religious people have a sincere objection to two gay people entering into holy matrimony. On the other hand, most people have fairness objections to longtime gay partners not inheriting in an intestate situation, for instance. Letting the churches, synagogues, and mosques decide who gets married, and letting the state decide who gets the benefit of a civil union takes much of the controversy out of the issue. Semantics sometimes can cause rifts where they need not occur.

5. OdCI9pQ8vy spews:

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6. klake spews:

don’t care if the homo’s get married that’s fine but I draw the line at the sick disgusting republicans marrying their pot bell pigs and sheep dogz , goats and other assorted animals !!!!!

Commentby The Socialist— 7/25/06@ 3:27 pm

nice try Roger you have been outed.

7. The Socialist spews:

I think it is time we round up the Christians and PERSECUTE THEM!!!!!

8. Particle Man spews:

Hate to say it, but, I think they will uphold the decision.

9. David Wright spews:

Vurz @44: Your comments are an excellent illustration of why the “compelling interest” and “rational basis” tests are such horrible, muddled legal standards. If you interpret them narrowly, then you will be able to think of some interest and basis as for almost any law, so the tests will have no effect. If you intrepret them broadly, then justifications that seem immenently rational and compelling to a conservative will look ridiculous to a liberal, and vice-versa, so the tests are completely subjective.

Given the choice between a loose, subjective reading that would let them come to the conclusion they wanted, and a narrow, objective reading that wouldn’t, I think the NY supreme court is to be commended for making the more judicial choice.

Really, we need a better standard: one that still has teeth when read narrowly and objectively. Privacy principles are a good place to start. If we were to say that “government can neither sanction nor prohibit any compact involving only informed, consenting adults” then we could not only get rid of marriage, but gambling and prostitution laws, and minimum wage laws, too. Truely a nightmare for all those who want to use the power of government to micro-manage the lives of others, and a great relief for the rest of us!

10. wayne spews:

It depends on the basis of the decision. If it is based on the state constitution, the Supremes can’t review it, except on the basis that the US Constitution somehow over-rides it.

11. Mark The Redneck spews:

I’m still waiting for one of you delerious moonbats to splain why a guy should get special privileges just because he likes the feeling of having a dick up his ass.

12. Josef in Marummy Country spews:

Whatever decision is made, possibly tomorrow, the US Supremes will be asked to opine.

My prediction.

13. proud leftist spews:

The claim for gay marriage is based on an equal protection analysis (under the state constitution, not the federal constitution). I’ll try to put this in simple terms, as I understand that the technical education you received did not involve unimportant subjects such as constitutional law. In short, the constitutional requirement of equal protection of the laws requires that when government distributes benefits or burdens amongst its citizens, any unequal distribution of such benefits or burdens between groups of citizens must have at least a rational basis. A claim of equal protection does not involve seeking “special privileges”; rather, such a claim seeks equal treatment to others. It’s a simple fairness concept.

14. Richard Pope spews:

I predict that the Washington Supreme Court will, in a sharply divided opinion, take some sort of middle ground position based upon an interpretation of the state constitution.

The majority opinion will mandate that Washington state law establish some sort of “civil unions” resembling, more or less, what the Vermont legislature enacted several years ago in response to a similar case before that state’s supreme court.

The majority will find that the marriage laws give many benefits to a man and woman who marry, including a statutory economic contract — i.e. community property, mutual support during marriage, division of property, possibility of spousal support after dissolution. So these economic benefits will be declared fundamental to same sex couples as well through civil unions. And maybe even to opposite sex couples who want these economic benefits without getting formally married.

This is my prediction based upon my perception of the various justice’s likely legal philosophy, as well as the political realities involved.

If such a middle ground approach is not taken, then I will say it is more likely that a narrow majority will uphold present state law as written than having a majority (of whatever size) mandate same sex marriage on exactly the same terms as present law.

But we will see. In any event, the decision has been far too long in coming — nearly a year and a half since oral argument, when most cases are decided in 90 days.

There certainly are political elements in timing — coming on Wednesday during candidate filing week, when three incumbent justices are seeking re-election.

15. Dr. E spews:

What special priveleges do you want, Mark?

16. Harry Tuttle spews:


So, we find that Socialist is MTR, in drag.

17. The Socialist spews:

Im not a welsher im IRISH you boob

18. LeftTurn spews:


Well MTR if anyone should know – it’s you!

19. The Socialist spews:

If republican Christians really cared about protecting marriage they would be trying to make divorces illegal and adultery illegal.

20. The Socialist spews:

mark we don’t really care what you like up your ass.

21. The Socialist spews:

I don’t see why gay people should be allowed to not get married and be miserable like the rest of us !!

22. Harry Tuttle spews:


No one cares what a welsher thinks. You have no credibility.

23. DustinJames spews:

Personally, with it being a slightly liberal court, I think you’re going to see it struck down tomorrow. The timing probably couldn’t be worse though, considering how many knee jerk reactions dumb fuck redneck retards will have just 4 months before 2006 elections, when it doesn’t affect them at all.

24. The Socialist spews:

Why anyone would want to be married is beyond me. Str8 or gay

25. Mark The Redneck spews:

17 – wow. we agree on something.

Any man who marries any woman in the state of FUWA is committing a reckless foolish irresponsible act.

26. Mark The Redneck spews:

What is this fixation that libruls have with butt fuckers and snatch lickers? It’s weird… how the fuck can somebody define themselves by who they fuck? How pathetic…

27. dustinjames spews:

39: The *ONLY* reason us homo’s want to remotely get “married” is because of the legal things that it bestows – guarantees that you can see your spouse in the hospital, guarantees that if you die without a will, your shit doesn’t go to probate to be auctioned it goes to your spouse, guarantees that if you die, your pension will go to your spouse – the same as hetero couples. I could give a fuck less about walking down the aisle in some fancy clothes (and if you want to talk about being gay, shit, look at the gaudy hoopla all you hetero’s throw for getting married – GAY.)

28. REP Pat Kennedy [D-Bitchslap the Black Security Guard At LAX] spews:

Anonymous, Flying to Japan, and back?? What about fossil fuel comsuption? What about “global warming”? What about the “ozone hole”? Don’t you libs care about the environment? Don’t you listen to Al Gore? I’m amazed at the hypocrite lib Democrats who all wish to “save the world” by passing laws and attacking capitalism, but, like the Kennedys, do as they wish because they are “special”. hehe, JCH Kennedy

29. David Wright spews:

I predict that the court will strike down marriage. Not homosexual marriages, but all state-sponsored marriages. They will opine that the notion that the state may grant speicial privliges to some couples based purely on how those couples arrage their private lives is inconsistent with the constitutional protection of the private sphere from government interference. Henceforth, Washington state will cease to sanction marriages, and all previously sanctioned marriages are annulled.

Well, I don’t really predit that. But that’s what I wish they would do.

30. Mark The Redneck spews:

16 But the fact of the matter is that librul gummint is fixated on treating people differently purely and only because of the color of their skin, and whether or not they have a dick. This is just another example of it. We told the state to knock this shit off when we passed I-200 by 15 points, but they want to do it anyway. And this is more of the same bullshit.

Sorry, your bullshit doesn’t work here…

31. The Socialist spews:

Yes we have been agreeing way to often mark . I think that is a sure sign the end times are coming

32. Christopher Dean Hopkins spews:

The Olympian will be holding an online chat on this topic at 11 a.m. Thursday with state Rep. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, and state Sen. Dan Swecker, R-Rochester.

Submit your questions here:

33. Mark The Redneck spews:

Pat – Do ya suppose it ever occured to any of these thousands of fucking losers to go to taxpayer funded schools to git some of that there fancy book larnin’ so they could git ‘em some marketable skills? All they gotta do is show up and do the fucking work.

Nah… TMFW…

34. David Wright spews:

Vurz @46: Many thanks for your considered and insightful reply. (This level of discussion is far above what I am used to on this blog!)

You are of course entirely right that the notion of “involving” is somewhat subjective and open to abuse. While I acknowledge your critique, I still think it is a step in the direction of more objective legal standards than we have now.

By the way, I find it helpful to think about these indirect effects in terms of ownership. Instead of asking whether I should be allowed to cut down a tree that shades my neigher, I would prefer to debate who “owns” the rights to the tree shade. Instead of asking whether people should be allowed to smoke in public, I would prefer to debate who “owns” the right to pollute the air. Instead of asking whether I should be allowed to have an affair, I would prefer to debate who “owns” the rights to control my sexual activities. Framing these questions in terms of ownership doesn’t always immediately clear up the debate, but it allows for solutions which still provide for trading and adaptation once ownership rights have been clarified.

35. REP Pat Kennedy [D-Bitchslap the Black Security Guard At LAX] spews:

21what a dip shit

Commentby The Socialist [.......................................Socialist, have you finished second grade?]

36. REP Pat Kennedy [D-Bitchslap the Black Security Guard At LAX] spews:

For as many as a thousand Lansing-area residents, the prospect of a $10-an-hour job was reason enough to wait in line for more than two hours Monday morning. They converged on the Capital Area Michigan Works office on Cedar Street to apply for one of the 500 jobs still open at the new Bridgewater Interiors LLC plant in Delta Township.

This is Democrat controlled Michigan. The company will hire 500 workers at $10+ per hour, the Democrat controlled unions will then move in to unionize, protest and harass non-union workers. The company ultimately will close the plant and the residents can go back to collecting government checks and moaning about how there are no employment opportunities in the local area.

37. The Socialist spews:

don’t care if the homo’s get married that’s fine but I draw the line at the sick disgusting republicans marrying their pot bell pigs and sheep dogz , goats and other assorted animals !!!!!

38. REP Pat Kennedy [D-Bitchslap the Black Security Guard At LAX] spews:

The real number of illegal aliens in the U.S. is not 12 million, as the federal government claims, but closer to 30 million. Democrats love this!!
The IRS – known for hounding citizens who make mistakes on their returns – has paid out $10 billion in refunds and credits to illegal aliens who used fraudulent Social Security numbers, and it has no intention of going after those who’ve made fraudulent claims.
Over 3,000 illegal aliens suspected of murdering Americans have fled to Mexico, where they often live openly and without fear of arrest. Many still vote Democrat.

39. The Socialist spews:

21what a dip shit

40. proud leftist spews:

The state is not behind the lawsuit at issue. Private parties have filed suit to seek enforcement of what they believe are their constitutional rights. The Washington Supreme Court will resolve the claim. You can’t blame “librul guvment” for anything in this case. Pay attention to what the issues are. I-200 hasn’t the slightest thing to do with the case before the court. Your bullshit is becoming tedious.

41. REP Pat Kennedy [D-Bitchslap the Black Security Guard At LAX] spews:

George Michael and his American lover Roger Rabbit have called off their gay ‘wedding’ after the gay porn star was discovered having an illicit encounter with a stranger in a London park… Michael admitted he was gay in 1998 after Californian police arrested him for lewd conduct in a public lavatory.

42. Daddy Love spews:

Interesting musing on the wingnut version of Iraq from The Poorman:

“Appreciate this. Understand that the people killing us in Iraq aren’t motivated by Gore Vidal or inspired by Susan Sontag or organized by Michael Moore or in cahoots in any way with any of the right’s celebrity piñatas – not literally, not metaphorically, not if you look at it in a certain way, not to any infinitesimal degree, not in any sense, not in any way at all. They do not lead a clandestine international conspiracy of Evil which has corrupted everything in every foreign country plus everything in America not owned by loyal Bush Republican apparatchiks; nor are they members of such a conspiracy; nor does a conspiracy remotely matching that description exist. To think otherwise is, literally and to a very great degree, insanity. It is insane.”

43. Daddy Love spews:


The issue of gay marriage turns not at all on whether one “has a dick” or not. But it does seem that you “treat people differently purely and only because of whether or not they have a dick.”

44. ConservativeFirst spews:

I predict they will overturn, and order the the legislature to act by a specific date, much like the Massachusetts Supreme Court did.

I think the state should get out of the marriage business altogether. Every adult should be allowed to designate one civil partner to make medical and financial descisions for them in the event of their being unable to do so for themselves. These civil partners would be legal heirs in absence of a legal will. Marriage is a religious institution. Let the various churches and their members decide what marriage means to them.

I think most conservatives objection to “gay marriage” is the attempt by a small group of radicals in gay and lesbian community to hijack an institution that is thousands of years old. I think the homosexual community could make great strides in gaining acceptance and tolerance of mainstream America by finding other avenues, such as civil unions, to gain the same legal standing as married hetrosexual couples, rather than fighting over the word “marriage”.

45. JDB spews:

Mark the Yellowback:

Still waiting to find out what those special privilidges are.

As for liking a dick up the ass, ask JCH, he is the expert around here on this.

In fact, Jesus’ General was apparently just talking about JCH in one of his latest post:

I know that there’s a lot of talk that he lies with men, but that doesn’t necessarily make him a homosexual. I mean, we all frequently commit acts that might be considered homosexual in nature, don’t we? The important thing–the thing that separates us from the homosexuals–is that we don’t let those acts define us. So, we might spend the weekend cruising bars dressed in a sailor outfit, but we repent afterward, and if we’re truly repentant, we pay a guy to punish us by spanking our bare butts with a spatula. That’s what makes us better than them.

46. DT spews:

I kind of wish they had put off the decision until after the elections. I fully expect them to overturn the law. If that happens I am afraid that we will then find the issue becoming part of the elections, especially the Supreme Court elections, which is not good for our side. Of course if the Court upholds the law I would also be disappointed in the setback for human rights. I don’t really see an upside here unfortunately.

47. JDB spews:

As to the ruling, I think Richard Pope is spot on. The court will uphold the DOMA but only if the legislature within the year passes some form of Civil Unions legislation. I think you might see some strange bed fellows in this, as their was probably a lot of wrangling between positions. This is a solid have your cake and eat it too position, and as we saw from the failed anti-gay civil rights attempt from earlier this year, there is simply not that many people outside of Ken Hutchison who would really care (most libertarian and less government conservatives would not have a problem with it, most Democrats would live with it). Only the 8% of the state that still has problems with fire (Hi MTR) will have a problem. And let’s face it, they were not going to have an impact on the election anyway.

I would be very surprised to see a Mass. style decision, as there simply would not seem to be the votes for it. I would also be surprise if they simply uphold the law and strike down the challenge, as that decision would have been out fairly quickly.

Two other possibilities are possible. First, the court could just punt and dismiss the case without ruling or send it back to the trial court or something like that. I don’t think it is likely with this court, but that does happen from time to time on cases like this.

The more likely case, especially with all the time that has gone by, is that you get 7 different opinions, and you have to count the votes section by section to makes some heads and tails of what the final decision is (See Justice Kennedy and the CWA case earlier this year). In which case, everyone is happy, everyone is angry, and no one really knows what the law is. The US Supreme Court has a number of these decisions, but they are fairly unusual in Washington (I can only think of one off hand). However, such a decisions with tons of concurs in part/dissents in part subopinions would explain all the time.

But Richard is probably right. The court will rule that the State has a legitimate rational in fostering marriage for the procreation of children, but that it cannot deny many of those benefits to any stable couple and must offer some sort of civil union protection to gay couples. If the legislature does not act in the next year, the unequal treatment inherent in not having such an option for gay people will force the court to strike down the DOMA.

48. The Socialist spews:

don’t care if the homo’s get married that’s fine but I draw the line at the sick disgusting republicans marrying their pot bell pigs and sheep dogz , goats and other assorted animals !!!!!