Andersen v. King County, (case citation|138 P.3d 963) (Wash. 2006)—formerly Andersen v. Sims—is a case filed by eight Washingtonian lesbian and gay couples, who sued King County and the State of Washington for denying them marriage licenses under the state's 1998 Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman. In the case, King County Superior Court Judge William L. Downing ruled that the state law prohibiting same-sex marriages, or Defense of Marriage Act, was unconstitutional, finding for the plaintiffs on August 4, 2004. The judge ruled that restricting the institution of marriage to opposite sex couples "is not rationally related to any legitimate or compelling state interest." The ruling was appealed to the state Supreme Court.
In 2005, the Andersen v. Sims case was consolidated with the Castle v. State case that was also appealed to the Washington Supreme Court from a Thurston County lower court. The combined cases were filed under Andersen v. King County and oral arguments were heard by the Washington Supreme Court on March 8, 2005. The ruling, a 5-4 decision that upheld the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), was handed down on July 26, 2006. The majority ruled that the DOMA does not violate the state's constitution and that the will of the legislature or the people (through a ballot initiative measure process) could revoke the controversial law.
In the plurality opinion, Justice Barbara Madsen wrote that "Under this standard, DOMA is constitutional because the legislature was entitled to believe that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples furthers procreation, essential to the survival of the human race, and furthers the well-being of children by encouraging families where children are reared in homes headed by the children’s biological parents." This is similar reasoning to that found in the Hernandez v. Robles decision, which was handed down on July 6, 2006 from New York's highest court.
The four justices that dissented accused the majority of relying upon "circular reasoning" in formulating their opinion. In one of the dissenting opinions, Justice Mary Fairhurst wrote, "Would giving same-sex couples the same right that opposite-sex couples enjoy injure the state’s interest in procreation and healthy child rearing?
See also Edit
- Domestic partnership in Washington (state)
- Same-sex marriage in Washington (state)
- LGBT rights in Washington (state)
- Text of the 2004 King County ruling (PDF)
- Text of the 2006 Washington Supreme Court lead ruling (PDF)
- Links to PDF articles on all 6 Washington Supreme Court opinions issued over Andersen v. King County.
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