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Diverse Groups Urge Washington State Supreme Court To Allow Same-Sex Couples To Marry

Jennifer C. Pizer, senior counsel at Lambda Legal is a lead attorney on the case. King County Superior Court Judge William Downing ruled that civil rights are violated by a state law prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying.

Let’s put some good news out there about state legislation on gay civil marriage. House Blend reader JJ sent me this piece from Lambda Legal about progress in Washington State. Be sure to go to the story to see the huge number of organizations that have added their names in support of civil marriage. If only that amount of support could be garnered in all states under the spectre of a super-DOMA.

Lambda Legal said today that briefs from dozens of groups urging the Washington State Supreme Court to allow same-sex couples to marry show an “extraordinary level of support” for marriage equality among a wide range of people in the state.

About 150 leading organizations and individuals signed onto 15 friend-of-the-court briefs that were filed in the Washington State Supreme Court in support of marriage for same-sex couples. On March 8, the state Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a lawsuit filed by Lambda Legal and Northwest Women’s Law Center seeking marriage licenses for same-sex couples.

We’re overwhelmed by this extraordinary level of support from all across the state. Religious groups, labor unions, political leaders, the business sector, civil rights leaders, family and children’s groups and many others are lining up to tell the state Supreme Court that allowing same-sex couples to marry reflects the values and principles we all cherish,” said Jennifer C. Pizer, Senior Counsel in Lambda Legal’s Western Regional Office and one of the lead attorneys in the case at the state Supreme Court. “This is a groundswell of support from all kinds of people all across the state. These groups address a range of different issues in the briefs they’ve filed, but they all make it clear that Washington is ready and eager for all couples to be treated equally.”

In a historic ruling last August, King County Superior Court Judge William Downing said that the Washington State Constitution guarantees basic rights to lesbian and gay people – and that those rights are violated by a state law prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying. The ruling said the state Constitution requires same-sex couples to have equal access to marriage, and that the couples represented by Lambda Legal and the Northwest Women’s Law Center must be given marriage licenses. One month later, a court in Thurston County ruled similarly. Both decisions were appealed to the Washington State Supreme Court, which will hear arguments in both cases on March 8.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding