News

County judge disputes validity of Marriage Act

By ERICA HALL

The Mirror

King County Superior Court Judge William Downing ruled Wednesday the state’s Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one women, violates the equal protection clause of the state constitution.

Still, the King County Courthouse won’t be issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples just yet. Downing issued a stay on his decision until the state Supreme Court reviews the issue, possibly as soon as this fall, according to Elaine Kraft, spokeswoman for County Executive Ron Sims. “We’re confident it’ll be expedited,” she said.

Sims guided the issue to court earlier this year after prohibiting the county from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples but encouraging them to challenge the Defense of Marriage Act in court.

Sims, a supporter of same-sex marriage, lauded Downing’s decision and thanked the plaintiffs in the case.

“As proud as I am to have my name associated with this landmark case, I am even more proud of these brave and loving couples who filed it,” he said. “I want to thank them for staring discrimination straight in the eye and saying, ‘No more.’”

Jason Krafsay, spokesman for Seattle-based Families Northwest, doubted Sims’ motivation. Families Northwest is opposed to same-sex marriage.

Plaintiffs in the case “were a group of people, especially in King County, who were handpicked by Executive Sims to create the situation,” he said. “It wasn’t even a natural outcry of the public. I think everyone sees now it was a political ploy by Sims to set himself up

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