This morning, the Washington Supreme Court issued a decision in Andersen v. King County, a consolidated case regarding Washington's ban on same-sex marriage.
The Court's lead opinion was authored by Justice Barbara Madsen, holding the Washington "Defense of Marriage Act" does not violate the Washington State Constitution. This decision overturns trial court decisions in King and Thurston Superior Courts in this case.
Signing Justice Madsen's opinion are Chief Justice Gerry Alexander and Associate Chief Justice Charles W. Johnson. Two members of the Court, Justices James M. Johnson and Richard B. Sanders agreed with the majority in result only, using a separate legal rationale in a concurring opinion authored by Justice James M. Johnson. Chief Justice Gerry Alexander also issued a separate concurrence in this case.
The Court had three dissenting opinions, one authored by Justice Mary E. Fairhurst which was signed by Justices Bobbe J. Bridge, Tom Chambers and Susan J. Owens. Justices Bridge and Chambers also issued separate dissents in this case.
Charges filed in Maine vandalism case. A lesbian couple in Poland, Maine were the victims of an appalling, homophobia-driven property crime. Now, charges have been filed against two juveniles as citizens rally in support of the victims. PlanetOut: 'More than 200 people, including the governor of Maine, gathered Saturday in Portland, Me., to support a lesbian couple whose home was rendered uninhabitable in what prosecutors are calling a hate crime. On Friday, the state attorney general's office filed a complaint against two boys, 12 and 14, under Maine's hate crimes law, one of the few such laws in the United States to recognize sexual orientation. Anti-gay bias motivated the boys to vandalize the Poland, Me., home of Linda Boutaugh and Keri Fuchs on July 1, according to police. The boys broke into the couple's mobile home late June 30, destroying furniture and appliances, breaking windows and spraying pesticides. Valuables, including a box that contained Fuch's father's ashes, were stolen. A car was severely damaged, and feces and urine were left in the car and the home.' 247Gay.com: 'More than 150 people braved the threat of rain and showed up at the rally in Monument Square, which was organized by Equality Maine. The crowd heard from a procession of speakers, including officials such as Gov. John Baldacci and Attorney General Steven Rowe, who denounced the incident and voiced support for Boutaugh and Fuchs. "I find that what happened in Poland was reprehensible," Gov. John Baldacci said, reports The Globe. "I came to the rally today to show my support on this issue. What happened here is not indicative of Maine people or Maine values." The couple, who drove to the rally from where they are now staying in East Millinocket, received long rounds of applause, even as they sometimes struggled to speak. "This is so very overwhelming," Fuchs told the audience, reports the Morning Sentinel.'
Marriage advocates launch ad campaign. AP via Gay.com: 'Three major gay rights groups are taking out full-page advertisements starting Tuesday in 50 newspapers nationwide declaring their determination to keep fighting for same-sex marriage rights despite recent court setbacks. The media campaign will cost $250,000; its organizers said it was the largest-ever purchase of print ad space by gay rights supporters. Roberta Sklar of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force said the ads would run in papers around the country, from the New York Times to The Gazette of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to gay weeklies in Houston, Atlanta and San Diego.'
Advances and setbacks in eastern Europe. Slovenia has legalized lesbian and gay civil unions with some ceremonial restrictions to make sure those people don't get the idea that they're, like, actually getting married or anything:
The Balkan republic of Slovenia has legalized same-sex unions but put restrictions on the ceremony, United Press International reported Monday. The measure allowing gay and lesbian couples to register their partnership went into effect Sunday, according to Belgrade's B92 radio station. Slovenia's gay and lesbian organizations, while welcoming the move as a concrete step, criticized the law as "insufficient," noting that it limits those attending the ceremonies to two partners and a local community registration official. Friends, relatives or any third person are barred from attending the ceremonies, which can be held only in a state office.
Meanwhile, more than two dozen people have been detained in Latvia for anti-gay attacks during a recent Pride celebration in Riga:
The charges stem from attacks on people who attended a Pride-themed service at the Anglican Church in Riga as part of the weekend festival, officially dubbed "Friendship Days." Anti-gay protesters threw tomatoes, eggs and bags of liquid excrement at people entering the church service, including European Parliament member Sophie Int'veld of the Netherlands, and riding buses to other Pride events. "Unhappily for the fascists, a number of the victims then went to a press conference for the foreign media. Thus, this hate crime was not only disseminated worldwide, but the journalists were able to experience first-hand the stench," a representative of Mozaika, one of the groups that organized Riga's Pride, wrote in a letter published Monday by UK Gay News.
Survey tracks healthcare experiences for lesbians, gay men. A recent survey finds something astonishing: gender bias in health care. 365Gay.com: 'A new study on LGBT health care shows that doctors react more negatively to women than to men who reveal they are gay. The study was conducted in New Zealand and forms part of the "Lavender Island" project - the first major study to be undertaken in the country about access to health care by members of the LGBT community. The results are reported in the latest issue of the Journal of Advanced Nursing. Researchers at Massey University surveyed 2,269 lesbian, gay and bisexual people to discover how they felt about revealing their sexuality and the reaction of primary healthcare providers, such as family doctors and practice nurses, when they did.'
Commentary. One of the problems of today's world is that the political landscape casts activists into two camps. On the one side, the "left-wingers" who see oppression everywhere except where it is most severe, that is, in the fascist regimes of the Middle East. And on the other side, "right-wingers", who are invested in emphasizing the virtues of Western society and so overlook its shortcomings, or worse, who tell activists that they should be grateful that they live in a society are not being stoned to death and should therefore shut up and stop complaining.
I refuse to join either of these groups. The search for justice isn't confined to one society, and addressing one set of issues does not - or should not - prejudice the importance of other issues. I expect that my regular readers understand this.