The Supreme Court of the State of Washington rejected a “friend-of-court” brief against same-sex marriage filed by the Archdiocese of Seattle’s because it came 16 months after the case was argued before the court. The archdiocese says filing the brief was necessary, despite its being rejected.
The case, for which a ruling still has not been issued, challenges the constitutionality of the state's ban on same-sex marriage. Oral arguments in the case were presented in March 2005. The deadline for amicus briefs was one month prior to the arguments.
According to a report in the Seattle Times, the archdiocese filed its amicus brief Thursday, arguing that the legalization of same-sex marriage could violate the church's constitutional right to religious freedom.
The brief warned that the church could lose its right to decide who can be married in Catholic churches and possibly be exposed to discrimination lawsuits if it refused to marry same-sex couples or if it no longer decided to employ someone who married his or her same-sex partner.
"Such an intrusion into religious practice should not be permitted," the brief reads.
Spokesman Greg Magnoni told the Seattle Times that the archdiocese only filed the brief last week because developments in other states made clear the effect the legalization of same-sex marriage could have on the church.
Even though the court rejected the brief, Magnoni said, it was important to submit the document. “It's important for us to make these points because it's such an important issue," Magnoni was quoted as saying. "We're talking about First Amendment issues here. These points were not made [elsewhere] in the case."
The Washington Supreme Court has not yet issued its ruling. Supreme Court Justice Susan Owens has said she expects the ruling to be issued before the start of September's primary election.