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Update: Federal judge Vaughn Walker overturned Prop 8 , setting the stage for a possible U.S. Supreme Court battle.

Today local gay rights advocates are

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As Prop. 8 Is Decided in California, a State Supreme Court Race Here Will Be Another Referendum on Gay Rights

prop_8_rumbaugh_supreme_court.gif
Update: Federal judge Vaughn Walker overturned Prop 8, setting the stage for a possible U.S. Supreme Court battle.

Today local gay rights advocates are nervously watching e-mail alerts and Facebook pages for a federal court ruling in California deciding whether or not to overturn Proposition 8. Prop 8 created a constitutional ban on gay marriage in that state in 2008. But while GLBT people and their allies wait for the decision, our own referendum of sorts on gay marriage is on the August primary ballot in the form of a state Supreme Court race between incumbent Jim Johnson and Tacoma attorney Stan Rumbaugh.

In 2006 the state Supremes voted 5-4 to uphold the 1998 Defense of Marriage Act, limiting the institution to heterosexuals. Johnson not only voted with the narrow majority, he wrote a separate opinion wherein he compared granting gays and lesbians the right to marry to attempts at making polygamy legal.

He said there was "a compelling governmental interest in preserving the institution of marriage, as well as the healthy families and children it promotes."

Notably, Rumbaugh hasn't said that he would vote to overturn DOMA (justices are supposedly non-ideological after all), but he did tell the Seattle Times it's likely he would have voted against the majority, effectively flipping the outcome. And that's been a strong enough position to win Rumbaugh the endorsement of the GLBT advocacy group Equal Rights Washington, though he has only argued twice before the state's highest court. The contest between Johnson and Rumbaugh will effectively be decided in the primary, with the winner advancing unopposed to the November ballot.

 
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