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Changing Strategies After the Washington Supreme Court Denies Marriage Equality July 26, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in legal, lgbt Issues, marriage equality.

After nearly 16 months of waiting for a decision on the marriage equality case in Washington state, the ruling has come down. In a 5-4 decision, the Washington Supreme Court ruled there is no constitutional right to same-sex marriage and that a law banning marriage equality is constitutional.

Although the ruling did not come as a shock to LGBT advocates, it is a huge defeat which could have tremendous repercussions for those fighting for equal rights. After a month of legal defeats in New York, Georgia, Colorado and now Washington, it is time for the movement to reinvent itself and its strategies for achieving equal rights.

On Tuesday, a full-page advertisement affirming the movement’s dedication to marriage equality was printed in 50 papers throughout the country. Dozens of LGBT organizations, activists and allies signed on to this statement:

From coast to coast, millions of people and hundreds of organizations are working to protect gay and lesbian families by ending their exclusion from marriage, with all its protections, responsibilities and human significance. This is happening in state legislatures, in the media, in the courts, and around millions of kitchen tables. Along the way, there will be advances and setbacks, but we will not stop until every American family is treated fairly, with dignity and equality under the law.

The sentiment of the ad is much appreciated at a time when gay and lesbian families are feeling increasingly under attack from anti-gay organizations, religious leaders and Congress, but the ad also seems to overstate the movement’s focus on state legislatures and kitchen tables. LGBT advocates at the state and national level have placed a substantial portion of their resources into court battles, attempting to overturn laws instead of changing the hearts and minds of Americans. As has happened throughout history, the courts have failed to protect a marginalized group because of conservative and rigid religious beliefs. The justice system has failed to protect gay and lesbian people, so the movement needs to refocus its energies on the “hearts and minds”.

Marriage equality will have to be achieved through state legislatures and ballot initiatives, which requires using resources to ensure Americans understand the impact discriminatory laws have on LGBT people and the children living in their homes. Court battles can play a role, but most Americans will not change their view of gay and lesbian people simply because a few judges interpret the law one way or the other.


Also… check out the great work of GLAAD and The Task Force. Every year, GLAAD trains thousands of people how to talk to the media so our lives reach homes it otherwise would have missed. GLAAD plays the media watchdog role – establishing relationships with reporters it can pitch stories to and ask for help when unfair reporting occurs. The Task Force focuses on grassroots work, sending troops throughout the country to provide support for states and communities advocating for LGBT legislation.

Here is what others are saying:

Pandagon – Washington State Rules Against Marriage Equality

BlogNYC – Washington Joins Ranks of Federal Fag Bashers

Fair Wisconsin – Washington Court Rejects Challenge

The Tin Man – Andersen v King County



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