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Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

Topic: ido74

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June 26, 2013 at 1:39 PM

Supreme Court DOMA ruling shows what Washington court got wrong

Just seven years ago, the Washington Supreme Court gave great deference to the state Legislature’s right to discriminate against same-sex marriage.

In the 2006 Anderson v. King County ruling upholding the state Defense of Marriage Act, Justice Barbara Madsen wrote that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) didn’t violate couples’ rights to equal protection because those couples couldn’t show they required “favored minority class” status. Because of this flawed framing, it gave overly broad leeway for the Legislature to enable discrimination. Moreover, the ruling validated the Legislature’s authority to obsess over opposite-sex procreation. According to the Anderson ruling:

That is, the legislature was entitled to believe that providing that only opposite-sex couples may marry will encourage procreation and child-rearing in a “traditional” nuclear family where children tend to thrive.

Today, the supposedly more conservative U.S. Supreme Court flipped that argument on its head in U.S. v. Windsor. In its majority opinion, the court said:

DOMA violates basic due process and equal protection principles applicable to the Federal Government. The Constitution’s guarantee of equality “must at the very least mean that a bare congressional desire to harm a politically unpopular group cannot” justify disparate treatment of that group… DOMA cannot survive under these principles.

Justice Anthony Kennedy rightly peeled back the discriminatory intent of the federal DOMA (and its offspring, like Washington’s DOMA).

DOMA’s avowed purpose and practical effect are to impose a disadvantage, a separate status, and so a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages made lawful by the unquestioned authority of the States. DOMA’s history of enactment and its own text demonstrate that interference with the equal dignity of same-sex marriages… was more than an incidental effect of the federal statute. It was its essence.

It was particularly refreshing to  see Kennedy confront the contention that children are somehow inherently harmed by parentage by loving same-same couples, a bugaboo of same-sex proponents and an argument advanced by our state Supreme Court.


Comments | Topics: ido74, referendum 74, same-sex marriage

June 26, 2013 at 10:46 AM

Celebrating U.S. Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage with the editorial board

I pulled this photo out of our archives to celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage Wednesday: Our editorial board launched the “I Do” campaign to support Referendum 74, the initiative to legalize same-sex marriage initiative, in 2012. Missing in action: Editorial writer Jonathan Martin, who joined our board in 2013. He…


Comments | Topics: ido74, same-sex marriage

June 26, 2013 at 7:56 AM

Down with DOMA at U.S. Supreme Court, ducking on same-sex marriage

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld federal benefits for same-sex couples, but ducked on same-sex marriage in California. The first is a reason for celebration. The second was a dodge. I’ve been watching Pride flags go up all over Capitol Hill for the past month. It’s a relief that Washington state forged ahead in legalizing same-sex marriage…


Comments | Topics: ido74, same-sex marriage