The Washington State Supreme Court has announced it will rule on gay marriage tomorrow. Alex Hays, liberal Republican and executive director of the controversial Constitutional Law PAC, predicts that the court will strike down the state's Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which limits marriage to a relationship between one man and one woman. While Hays supports civil unions for gays and lesbians, he opposes same-sex marriage and believes the court should uphold DOMA. Says Hays, "If they do strike down DOMA, it's going to have a multi-decade impact on judicial elections." Since Hays started the first political action committee for judicial races in the state, he will be one of the key decision-makers on how this ruling is used in this fall's highly politicized battles for the state Supreme Court.
Of the three Supreme Court races on November's ballot, two are currently contested: Chief Justice Gerry Alexander is being opposed by Bellevue property-rights lawyer John Groen and Associate Justice Susan Owens is facing off against state Senator Stephen Johnson, R-Kent. Both challengers are allied with right-wing conservatives, while both incumbents are in the center of our centrist court. Hays' organization plans to back Johnson, a social conservative, and probably will support Alexander.
Hays pledges that if the Supreme Court decision needs to be critiqued, his organization will do so in a fashion that does not inflame the political landscape. "I have to make sure it doesn't result in hostility toward the gay and lesbian community," says Hays.