LGBT Washington resident fears repeal of same-sex marriage rights

In his unanimous opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas suggested the court reconsider same-sex marriage. It’s been legal in Washington for almost a decade.

SEATTLE — In his unanimous opinion to overturn the nation’s constitutional protections for abortion, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas called for a review of decisions related to contraception, same-sex activity and same-sex marriage.

Washington state has held legal same-sex marriages since 2012. State Supreme Court Justice Mary Yu presided over the first at the King County Courthouse — a moment she fondly remembers.

“We were really excited because we felt that nobody should wait another minute, which is why we decided to do it at midnight, and yet there is a level of concern,” Judge Yu said. “Part of me thought in the back of my mind, is this really real? Will something bad happen? Can we really do this? And then I wanted to make it perfect for those couples too.”

The first marriage she consummated was coincidentally to a couple she had also managed an adoption for. Since then she has given hundreds of concerts every year.

“It means everything and it has meant everything,” Yu said. “It was really a public acknowledgment of relationships and their families. But people don’t just marry because they love each other, but because there are really tangible benefits that marriage offers people.”

Jason Houston is engaged. He said he appreciates knowing that he and his fiancé have the legal right to nationally recognized same-sex marriage.

“I’m from Mississippi and we were really concerned that if we’re not in Washington state we’ll have to go from state to state, wherever we want to live, we’ll have to justify ourselves again and try to explain why our marriage.” Houston said. “That’s one of the things that Obergefell did for us was validate those marriages statewide, and of course that includes federal benefits for things.”

He said he was concerned by evidence to reconsider not only the Obergefell ruling, which affected gay marriage, but also the Lawrence ruling, which prevented the criminalization of same-sex activity.

“Different Supreme Courts interpret different things in different ways and we have a much more conservative judiciary than in years past, so I think there’s a real risk that a lot of these issues will be revisited and we won’t even start with marriage annulment , but could also face criminal penalties in these cases,” Houston said.

Yu said she understands people’s concerns about whether the same-sex verdict could be appealed, although she said it’s important to know for now that people still have their rights.

“It is Washington state law that anyone can marry and no marriage will be reversed or unrecognized, and I do not foresee any future where same-sex couples cannot marry each other,” Yu said.

Houston hopes communities will have solidarity with one another at this moment.

“I think it’s important for us to stand up for marginalized communities and I say that as a gay man, but we’re not the only ones and we have to be here to speak up and stand up for what’s right and To make sure that this Supreme Court doesn’t take any rights away from us, especially after we’ve worked so long to get them in the first place,” Houston said. “It’s criminally unfair to me to have this chance on the composition of the court .”

As Seattle celebrates Pride, Yu said it’s also important to celebrate the progress already made.

“In light of Pride weekend, I would like to invite everyone to celebrate that love is love, love is real and sincere, and now is the time to celebrate the rights we have,” Yu said. “And while people worry about the future or where we’re going, the moment is right now. Celebrate a sunny day in Seattle, celebrate Pride, celebrate the fact that in Washington state we can marry the person we love. “ LGBT Washington resident fears repeal of same-sex marriage rights

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