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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Equal Treatment Under the Law

The Lovely Wife sent me an interesting proposed ballot measure for Washington State. The organizers are still trying to come up with the 224,000 signatures they need to get it on the ballot, and aren't given much chance of doing so, but his argument makes sense.

You see, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that one of the states interests in the Defense of Marriage Act is procreation, in other words families that can create new taxpayers for the state.

Some folks took a little umbrage to that idea, and are now the "Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance" is trying to amend the State's marriage code, to require that all legally married couples be able to procreate, or they lose their status as legally married.

Ballot Initiative 957 would require a sworn statement that both parties are, to the best of their knowledge, able to produce children, and that they will within 3 years of marriage.

Here is Wa-DOMA's statement on the issue:
The way we are challenging Andersen is unusual: using the initiative, we are working to put the Court’s ruling into law. We will do this through three initiatives. The first would make procreation a requirement for legal marriage. The second would prohibit divorce or legal separation when there are children. The third would make the act of having a child together the legal equivalent of a marriage ceremony.

I have to say that even though I don't particularly care for gay marriage, I can see Wa-DOMA's point on this issue, and where it has a chance. It is, even in their words, absurd to think this will pass, but if you base laws on fairness, it should.

The revised section one of the marriage code would say this:
On July 26, 2006, the Washington supreme court cited the "legitimate state interests" of procreation and child rearing as a basis for preserving the defense of marriage act. The people of Washington find it desirable to place part of this ruling into statutory form and make procreation a requirement for valid marriage in this state.

You see, if the courts are going to, on one hand, say procreation is a reason the state sanctions hetro marriages but not gay one's, then it should agree that hetro marriages that don't, or can't procreate shouldn't be recognized either.

It will be interesting to see what happens in Washington State on this issue.

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