Washington decision a stain of shame
From the Office of State Assembly Member Mark Leno
July 26, 2006
SACRAMENTO Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco)
today responded to the Washington state Supreme Court decision
upholding the constitutionality of that states ban on marriage
for gay and lesbian couples.
By using children as their excuse for upholding discrimination,
the Washington Supreme Court has harmed hundreds of thousands
of children being raised by lesbian and gay couples across the
nation. No reputable study has shown that children raised by gay
and lesbian parents are in anyway harmed by the commitment, love,
and protection these couples provide. This ruling is a stain of
shame on the court and it is one they will soon be forced to retract,
said Assemblyman Leno.
In a split 5-4 decision, the Washington Supreme Court ruled in
Andersen v. King County that the equal protection provisions in
that states constitution do not apply to gay and lesbian
couples seeking marriage licenses. Justice Barbara Madsen wrote,
"The legislature was entitled to believe that limiting marriage
to opposite-sex couples furthers the State's legitimate interests
in procreation and the well-being of children."
On July 10th, the California Court of Appeal heard arguments
in Woo v. Lockyer in which a lower court ruled that Californias
ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The Court of Appeal
decision is due in October and attorneys arguing the case expect
the California Supreme Court to hear it sometime next year.
Unlike Washington and New York, California has enacted
the strongest protections that can be provided to gay and lesbian
couples and their children short of marriage, and a majority of
the members of our Legislature have voted to convey full marriage
rights. I would expect that the California Supreme Court will
give weight to this legislative intent and avoid staining our
high court with bigotry and prejudice as is the case in New York
and Washington, said Leno.
In 2005 the California Legislature passed Assemblyman Lenos
AB 849 which would have permitted lesbian and gay couples to marry,
but the bill was vetoed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who
said in his veto message that the courts or the people should
decide the issue.