Castle v. State of Washington [WA] News
Castle v. State of Washington [WA]

Superior Court of Washington, Thurston County; Judge Richard D. Hicks, September 7, 2004. Review the opinion [PDF]. Excerpt:

The clear intent of the Legislature to limit government approved contracts of marriage to opposite sex couples is in direct conflict with the constitutional intent to not allow a privilege to one class of the community that is not allowed to the entire community. To the extent RCW 26.04.010 and RCW 26.04.020 effect this they are contrary to the state Constitution.

Who are we as a community? Our fundamental principle is that we share the freedom to live with and respect each other and share the same privileges or immunities. We need each other. Are we not all children of a common parent?

When the government is involved, one part of the community can not be given a privilege that is not given to other members of the community unless the government can demonstrate how that discrimination furthers the benefit of the entire community.
When we divide the community into classes and categories the division must at least bear some rational relation to a legitimate government purpose. If this division is based on 'suspect' lines, such as immutable characteristics that a person can't change such as race, sex, age and so on, or, involves a fundamental right, such as marriage or to bear children, then the discriminatory division is looked at closely and must be narrowly tailored to advance the particular government interest.

For the government this is not a moral issue. It is a legal issue. Though these issues are often the same, they are also quite different. The conscience of the community is not the same as the morality of any particular class. Conscience is what we feel together as one community.

Conscience makes us one people. What fails strict scrutiny here is a government approved civil contract for one class of the community not given to another class of the community. Democracy means people with different values living together as one people. What can reconcile our differences is the feeling that with these differences we are still one people. This is the democracy of conscience.

Reported in JURIST's Paper Chase here.