Washington State Court To Hear Oral Arguments Tuesday, July 27, in Lambda Legal and NWWLC Case Seeking Marriage For Same-Sex Couples

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July 27, 2004

(Seattle, Monday, July 26, 2004) - A Washington state court will hear oral arguments tomorrow, July 27, in a historic lawsuit seeking full marriage for same-sex couples in Washington state.

“Our clients and other same-sex couples in Washington have waited a long time for this day, and tomorrow we will finally make their case for full marriage in their home state,” said Jennifer C. Pizer, Senior Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal’s Western Regional Office. “Same-sex couples need the legal protections that only marriage can provide and this case seeks those rights and responsibilities - nothing more and nothing less.”

Lambda Legal and the Northwest Women’s Law Center filed a lawsuit four months ago on behalf of same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses in King County, arguing that denying marriage to same-sex couples violates the state Constitution’s guarantees of equality, liberty and privacy for all Washingtonians. The case was the first of its kind to be filed in Washington since the Massachusetts high court ruled that same-sex couples are entitled to full marriage under that state’s Constitution.

Washington is among 40 states with laws explicitly prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying. Lambda Legal and the Northwest Women’s Law Center seek a judgment in this case that would strike down the anti-gay restriction in the state marriage law as unconstitutional and would order county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

In addition to its lawsuit seeking marriage in Washington, Lambda Legal is also currently litigating marriage cases in New Jersey, New York, and California (with the ACLU, National Center for Lesbian Rights and Equality California). Pizer and Jamie Pedersen, Co-Chair of Lambda Legal’s Board of Directors and an attorney at the Seattle law firm, Preston Gates & Ellis, are Lambda Legal’s lead attorneys on the case, Andersen, et. al. v. Sims, et. al.. Co-counsel include Nancy Sapiro of the Northwest Women’s Law Center, Bradley Bagshaw and Jennifer Divine, of the Seattle law firm Helsell Fetterman LLP, and Patricia Novotny.



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