Culture

The Washington Supreme Court on Same Sex Marriage

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The same arguments that have been made repeatedly the last ten years about same sex marriages are going to be repeated ad nauseam in the next few days, following the Washington state Supreme Court’s endorsement of the idea that there is no right to same sex marriages. I could write about the absurd lie about ‘defending traditional marriage’ that masks naked bigotry or the historical ignorance demonstrated by Washington Attorney General, who, forgetting Brown v. Board and host other decisions, reminded us that courts shouldn’t legislate policy, but other people will write and have written about the policy implications of these decisions. What strikes me about the story are the people for whom this isn’t an abstract constitutional or moral issue, but a stinging rebuke of their right to love as they choose. Sometimes, we get so focused on the debate that we forget the real people involved, so it’s worth taking a minute to hear their voices.

Jo Palm

"My real emotion is bewilderment. Knowing my relationship with my partner — which is my miracle — can cause so much prejudice, I can’t figure it out."

Brenda Bauer:

"This ruling denies that we’re capable of love and that we’re capable of commitment."

Elizabeth Reis:

"We’re heartbroken," she said. "I was stunned. Barbara (her partner of 28 years), less so. She was less optimistic than I was. The decision hurts. We’re told today we’re not deserving of full citizenship in the state of Washington.

When I contrast the simultaneously heartbroken and optimistic sentiments of these people who simply want the legal right to share their lives with the person of their choice to rationales like this soulless diatribe justifying bigotry, it seems obvious that there can be no argument for treating the relationships of gay and lesbian couples differently than those of heterosexual couples. Advocates for marriage are perhaps right about one thing: marriage is an ancient tradition in our culture, a powerful statement about the impulse, occasionally irrational, to share one’s life with another. How can extending that right do anything but benefit our society?

Justice Bobbe Bridge is right. Future generations will look back on this, and other decisions like it, ""with regret and even shame."

Update: Touchstone tackles the decision as well, as does Sara at F-Words.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it’s a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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