Today (Thursday, February 28) has been a tremendously successful day for our community!
Following the actions taken by GSBA, many of our members, the City of Seattle and King County, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson joined attorneys general from a dozen other states and the District of Columbia have urged the U.S. Supreme Court to support marriage equality.
“Washington has a clear interest in supporting marriage equality and in ensuring the federal government respects marriages that are valid under Washington law,” said Ferguson. “I am proud that Washington played an active role in developing the strong arguments in these briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court supporting marriage equality for couples in Washington and across the country."
Oh, and the President also spoke up for equality. President Obama's administration is urging the Court to rule that voters in California did not have the right to ban gay marriage in 2008 (the Perry case) and that Section 3 of DOMA, limiting federal recognition of same-sex couples, is unconstitutional (the Windsor case).
In Congress, the House of Representatives passed the Senate's bipartisan, inclusive version of the Violence Against Women Act, which now goes to the President's desk for his signature. House Republicans had proposed an alternate version removing added protections for LGBT and Native Americans, but that version failed to pass. Our own Senator Patty Murray deserves a big thank for her leadership role in passing an inclusive VAWA. The Senator had this to say about the bill following its passage:
"This is a long delayed, hard won, and badly needed victory for millions of women, especially those who were told that they weren’t worthy of VAWA’s protections. It means that finally, after over 16 months of struggle, tribal women, the LGBT community, immigrants, and women on college campuses will have the tools and resources this life-saving bill provides.
“There is absolutely no reason that it should have taken this long for the House leadership to come around on a bill that had overwhelming bipartisan support. But passage today is a validation of what we’ve been saying since this bill expired in 2011 - VAWA has never been, and should never be, a partisan bill. That is why I applaud moderate Republican voices in the House who stood up to their leadership to demand a vote on the Senate bill."
And, finally, education and democracy won today when the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that state law stemming from a series of Tim Eyman initiatives requiring a two-thirds majority vote in the state legislature to increase taxes or close a loophole was unconstitutional. The 6-3 decision ruled that the state constitution gives the Legislature the authority to pass laws by simple majority. GSBA took a public stand against Eyman's most recent Initiative 1185, with the Board arguing that that the initiative would adversely impact our state's ability to
effectively legislative and would unduly tie the hands of government to
react to the needs of the citizens.