Same-Sex Marriage Ruled Legal in Washington, Banned in Missouri

Missouri voters on Tuesday passed a ballot measure amending the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, while a Washington state judge ruled yesterday that same-sex marriage is legal under state law. Missouri is the first state to pass such a ballot measure since the historic ruling in Massachusetts last year legalizing lesbian and gay marriage in that state, though as many as a dozen states have similar constitutional amendments in the works. Missouri, along with 37 other states, already had a law defining marriage as between a man and a woman (similar to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA). However, opponents of same-sex marriage are trying to prevent state courts from overturning such state laws by adding this discriminatory language to their state constitutions, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. In Washington, King County Superior Court Judge William L. Downing did exactly what right-wing, homophobic forces feared – he struck down a Washington state law defining marriage as only between a man and a woman and ruled that lesbian and gay couples have a right to marry under the state’s constitution, the LA Times reports. However, he has stayed his decision to allow review by the state Supreme Court. If upheld, Washington would become only the second state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage. “We’re going to win because we have the law on our side,” said David Serkin-Poole, a plaintiff in the Washington case, according to the Associated Press. “Marriage equality’s time has come.”


Seattle Post-Intelligencer 8/5/04; LA Times 8/5/04; Associated Press 8/4/04

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