The Court’s lead opinion, which was authored by Justice Barbara Madsen, holds that the Washington Defense of Marriage Act does not violate the Washington State Constitution.
The result of the decision overturns two trial court decisions and keeps intact legislation which maintains that marriage in the State of Washington is by definition between one man and one woman.
The decision states that, “the two cases before us require us to decide whether the legislature has the power to limit marriage in Washington State to opposite-sex couples. The state constitution and controlling case law compel us to answer "yes," and we therefore reverse the trial courts.”
The Alliance for Marriage, who drafted the Marriage Protection Amendment, today celebrated the Washington State Supreme Court decision protecting marriage as a man and a woman while calling on Congress to pass AFMs Marriage Protection Amendment (MPA).
"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.
In his concurring opinion Supreme Court Justice James Johnson said that the question of the case is indeed tied to the question of judicial activism. "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."
Daniels said that the intent of the Alliance for Marriage was not discrimination against homosexual persons, but the defense of marriage. "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 Archdiocese of Seattle had filled an Amicus Curiae brief in support of the appeal last week. 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.
The Court’s opinion including concurrences and dissents is available online at www.courts.wa.gov, along with links to the RealAudio of the oral argument.
.- This morning, the Supreme Court of the State of Washington issued a decision in Andersen v. King County, a consolidated case regarding Washington’s Defense of Marriage Act.