A divided Washington Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that same-sex couples have no right of marriage under the state constitution, rejecting claims by 19 couples who sued to overturn a 1998 state law that strictly limited marriage to heterosexuals.
“We are disappointed. We were hoping for a victory,” said Jeff Kingsbury, an Olympia City Council member and plaintiff who stood on the Temple of Justice steps Wednesday with his partner, Alan Fuller, to talk about the ruling.
The court’s 5-4 decision sends the issue to the Legislature, Kingsbury said, where he hopes activists can push for full rights for gays. His side ultimately will prevail, he said, though he didn’t say how soon he expects that to happen.
Olympia activist Anna Schlecht said that the ruling disappointed her.
“I think what we got is a well-annotated ‘tough luck,’ ” Schlecht said.
Schlecht was in Milwaukee, Wis., with her partner, Sarah Vanucci, who was tending to Vanucci’s dying mother, a Catholic who supports their right to marry, Schlecht said. The circumstances of the couple’s tending to the mother as any other family might do underscored the unfairness of the ruling in her mind.
“I’m sitting in a motel in Milwaukee supporting my partner who is facing her mother’s pending death, making arrangements. We have all the responsibilities of marriage but none of the rights,” Schlecht said.
“I’m kind of choking back tears. It feels … without using foul language, it feels like a real cold-hearted dismissal of our humanity. We have all the same needs. We have the same obligations to our families, to our children and grandchildren.”
Read the whole article: Court upholds gay marriage ban by Brad Shannon ~ The Olympian ~ Published July 27, 2006