Marriage contract–Void marriages
(1) Marriage is a civil contract between a male and a female who have each attained the age of eighteen years, and who are otherwise capable.
(2) Every marriage entered into in which either the husband or the wife has not attained the age of seventeen years is void except where this section has been waived by a superior court judge of the county in which one of the parties resides on a showing of necessity.
(Washington Revised Code Section 26.04.010)
Andersen v. King County, Case No. 04-2-04964-4 SEA
Lambda Legal brought this suit on behalf of same-sex couples demanding a right to marry. On August 4, 2004, the trial judge ruled that there is a fundamental right to same-sex “marriage,” that the marriage laws discriminate on the basis of sex, and therefore the Washington DOMA violates the Washington Constitution. The appeal will likely go directly to the Washington Supreme Court, but the court has not yet ruled on whether it will accept direct review.
Castle v. State, Case No. 04-2-00614-4
The ACLU brought this claim for same-sex “marriage” in Thurston County. The court heard oral argument on September 2, 2004, and issued a written opinion on September 7, 2004. The judge observed that the government has no right to distinguish among different kinds of “families.” He ruled that Washington’s DOMA constitutes sexual orientation discrimination and violates the fundamental right to marry under the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the Oregon Constitution. This case will likely be consolidated with Andersen on appeal.
Singer v. Hara, 522 P.2d 1187 (Wash. Ct. App. 1974)
This case, involving the same claims as in Andersen and Castle, held that there is no fundamental right to same-sex “marriage,” and the marriage laws do not discriminate on the basis of sex or sexual orientation. The Andersen court followed this controlling case only on its sexual orientation holding, and did not acknowledge that the case had definitively ruled on the other issues.