Friday
August 4, 2006
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Volume 34
Issue 31
 
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Seattle Sexual Minorities Commission condemns court ruling on same sex marriage
Seattle Sexual Minorities Commission condemns court ruling on same sex marriage
Justice and equality are the true losers in today's Washington State Supreme Court decision to uphold the state's 1998 Defense of Marriage Act, say members of the City of Seattle's Commission for Sexual Minorities.

"This is an unfortunate outcome of so much work by the community," said Joseph Daniels, co-chair of the Seattle Commission for Sexual Minorities. "But we are fortunate that we have many organizations and people in this state who will continue to work toward LGBT equity in the law."

The City of Seattle has taken a strong stand in support of same-sex marriage. In 2004, Mayor Greg Nickels issued an executive order granting legal recognition in the City of Seattle to same-sex couples who have been married elsewhere. The City offers medical and dental benefits to city government employees registered as domestic partners, and requires employers contracting with the City of Seattle to extend the same benefits to employees' same-sex domestic partners as they offer to legally married partners.

"I'm disappointed that the majority of our Supreme Court does not believe that our constitution stands for equal rights for all," said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen. "It is incumbent upon all of us to elect leaders who will protect and defend our rights and who will repeal the Defense of Marriage Act so that we may finally ensure equality for all."

The court's decision came in the case of Anderson v. King Co., challenging Washington's 1998 Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. In 2004, after six same-sex couples were denied marriage licenses in Seattle, Lambda Legal and the Northwest Women's Law Center filed a lawsuit on the couples' behalf in King County Superior Court. The Superior Court ruled that the state law limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples was unconstitutional.

"We will continue to fight for equal rights for everyone" said Jake Zukowski, Commission co-chair. "When we look back on this ruling, after marriage equality becomes a reality, we will realize it was a small step back in a historic and powerful movement."

Established in 1989, the Seattle Commission for Sexual Minorities advises the Mayor and City Council concerning issues of importance to Seattle's sexual minority communities. For more information about the Commission, telephone 206-684-4540 or visit www.seattle.gov/scsm/.



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