July 21, 2006
Volume 34
Issue 29
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Washington State Justices prepare to issue rule on marriage equality for same-sex couples
Washington State Justices prepare to issue rule on marriage equality for same-sex couples
by Staff

The state of Washington Supreme Court will deliver its ruling on the constitutionality of a law barring same-sex marriage before this September's primary one of the justices said on Wednesday.

"It's not going to be very long. We're at the point now where I can say that," Justice Susan Owens tells the Associated Press.

Owens said that contrary to widespread speculation the court has not been holding up a ruling until after the primary or the November general election.

"We have never held cases. I resent when people say that," Owens told the AP.

But she did not say why it still has taken so long.

The case hinges on how the nine justices interpret 34 words in the state constitution.

The key passage is Article 1, Section 12, which says, "No law shall be passed granting to any citizen ... privileges or immunities which upon the same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens."

Arguments challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage, the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, were made before the Court in March 2005.

Since then same-sex couples hoping to marry have been anxiously waiting for the court to rule.

A decision is also awaited in the state of New Jersey. Arguments in that case were heard in February.

Earlier this month the highest court in New York State ruled that the state "Constitution does not compel the recognition of marriages between members of the same sex."

A midlevel appeals court in California heard arguments July 10 in a series of cases challenging that state's ban on Gay marriage. The issue is expected to reach the California Supreme Court next year.

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