Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Marriage and the Ninth Circuit: Next Up, Washington

Jason Mazzone

Today in Washington state the house approved a same-sex marriage bill. The state senate approved the same bill last week. The governor promises to sign the bill into law and it will take effect 90 days thereafter. Washington state has had domestic partnership laws since 2007. Opponents of the marriage bill say they plan to gather signatures for a ballot measure to overturn the legislation. After yesterday's decision of the Ninth Circuit panel in Perry v. Brown, would a ballot measure repealing the law violate the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution? Perhaps the answer depends on whether the marriage law has actually taken effect at the time of repeal (it could for example be stayed pending the outcome of the ballot measure). But one thing at least is clear: just 24 hours after Perry, we know the decision cannot easily be contained in California.

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