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Wash. 5-4 decision turns back ‘gay marriage’

Posted July 26

OLYMPIA, Wash. (BP)–In a long-anticipated decision, the Washington state Supreme Court today refused to legalize “gay marriage,” saying that the issue is one for the legislature or the citizens — and not the courts — to decide.

The 5-4 ruling is the second major loss for homosexual activists within the past month. In early July, New York’s highest court also refused to legalize “same-sex marriage.”

Washington state Justice Barbara Madsen wrote the court’s opinion, which two justices joined. Two other justices issued a concurring opinion, agreeing only in the judgment.

The court heard oral arguments in the case more than a year ago, in March 2005, and both sides had been eagerly awaiting a ruling. Two lower court judges had struck down the state’s marriage laws and ordered “gay marriage” to be legalized, and those decisions were appealed.

“The two cases before us require us to decide whether the legislature has the power to limit marriage in Washington State to opposite-sex couples,” Madsen wrote. “The state constitution and controlling case law compel us to answer ‘yes,’ and we therefore reverse the trial courts. In reaching this conclusion, we have engaged in an exhaustive constitutional inquiry and have deferred to the legislative branch as required by our tri-partite form of government.”

Madsen added: “We see no reason, however, why the legislature or the people acting through the initiative process would be foreclosed from extending the right to marry to gay and lesbian couples in Washington.”

The legislature had passed a Defense of Marriage Act protecting the natural definition of marriage.

Massachusetts remains the only state to recognize “gay marriage.” Since that state’s highest court issued its ruling redefining marriage more than two years ago, homosexual activists have been waiting for a second court to issue a similar ruling. They had high hopes for New York and Washington, which both have courts that are considered left-of-center. But their hopes were dashed in separate rulings only weeks apart. Now, all eyes focus on New Jersey’s Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments in a “gay marriage” case in February and could issue its ruling any day.

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