Monday, February 2, 2009

Fun Times With The RCW : Part 1

RCW is the Revised Code of Washington, for those not in-the-know; it's the compilation of legal speak that keeps Washington state in a state of non-disarray. My favorite parts are in bold (title excluded).

RCW 26.04.010 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.

[1998 c 1 § 3; 1973 1st ex.s. c 154 § 26; 1970 ex.s. c 17 § 2; 1963 c 230 § 1; Code 1881 § 2380; 1866 p 81 § 1; 1854 p 404 §§ 1, 5; RRS § 8437.]


Finding -- 1998 c 1: "(1) In P.L. 104-199; 110 Stat. 219 [2419], the Defense of Marriage Act, Congress granted authority to the individual states to either grant or deny recognition of same-sex marriages recognized as valid in another state. The Defense of Marriage Act defines marriage for purposes of federal law as a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife and provides that a state shall not be required to give effect to any public act or judicial proceeding of any other state respecting marriage between persons of the same sex if the state has determined that it will not recognize same-sex marriages.

(2) The legislature and the people of the state of Washington find that matters pertaining to marriage are matters reserved to the sovereign states and, therefore, such matters should be determined by the people within each individual state and not by the people or courts of a different state." [1998 c 1 § 1.]

Intent -- 1998 c 1: "(1) It is a compelling interest of the state of Washington to reaffirm its historical commitment to the institution of marriage as a union between a man and a woman as husband and wife and to protect that institution.

(2) The court in Singer v. Hara, 11 Wn. App. 247 (1974) held that the Washington state marriage statute does not allow marriage between persons of the same sex. It is the intent of the legislature by this act to codify the Singer opinion and to fully exercise the authority granted the individual states by Congress in P.L. 104-199; 110 Stat. 219 [2419], the Defense of Marriage Act, to establish public policy against same-sex marriage in statutory law that clearly and definitively declares same-sex marriages will not be recognized in Washington, even if they are made legal in other states." [1998 c 1 § 2.]

It still amazes me that there is absolutely zero legal grounding for not allowing gay marriages in Washington State, and yet, it is still illegal. Why? To reaffirm a historical commitment? Wow. I can think of a few other historical commitments that didn't turn out so well.

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