- The Washington Times - Monday, May 29, 2006

New York’s highest court is scheduled tomorrow to hear arguments on same-sex couples’ right to “marry,” while the wait continues for rulings in Washington state and New Jersey.

The stakes are high in all three cases. Homosexual rights advocates are eagerly waiting for a second court to follow the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and legalize same-sex “marriage.”

Traditional-values advocates are waiting too, but their goal is a ruling that rejects the court’s line of reasoning in its 2003 Goodridge decision. To give same-sex couples the right to “marry,” marriage had to be redefined, the court said in its 4-3 ruling.

In New York, where the Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments on Hernandez v. Robles and three other same-sex “marriage” cases, more than a dozen homosexual rights allies have filed legal briefs on behalf of the plaintiffs.

“It’s wrong for New York to continue to deny same-sex couples and their children equal protection for their families,” said Victor Bolden, general counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. “The constitution protects the right of individuals to marry whomever they love, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation.”

Other supporters of same-sex “marriage” include 200 religious groups, the American Psychological Association, National Organization for Women, National Association of Social Workers and many New York legal organizations.

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s office is defending the state marriage laws, and many groups, including the New York Catholic Conference and Family Research Council (FRC), have filed briefs supporting the state.

The state’s main arguments are that there is no constitutional right to same-sex “marriage,” that New York marriage laws are constitutional and that lawmakers — not courts — should make any changes in marriage laws, said Chris Stovall, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, which is representing the FRC.

“Marriage is the time-honored way to tie men and women together and to the children they bear,” said Mr. Stovall. “If you sever marriage from its link to procreation, you are, to some degree, cutting marriage away from the roots that made it a fundamental right in the first place.”

Of the seven states with same-sex “marriage” lawsuits, Washington is considered to be the next to issue a ruling.

The Washington Supreme Court heard oral arguments on its case, Andersen v. King County, in March 2005. A decision was expected before the Legislature adjourned this spring, but impatient advocates worry that because three of the court’s justices are up for re-election, the court will sit on the high-profile case until after November.

The New Jersey Supreme Court heard oral arguments on its case, Lewis v. Harris, in February, but a decision isn’t considered imminent.

Other states with same-sex “marriage” lawsuits are California, Connecticut, Iowa and Maryland.

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