BREMERTON, Washington - July 26 - Members of the Bremerton/Kitsap County chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) - as well as PFLAG members across the state -- are expressing deep disappointment today by the Washington State Supreme Court ruling that the state's Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is constitutional. The decision effectively closes the door for marriage equality in Washington -- a key law that would provide fundamental protections to gay and lesbian family members and loved ones.
"One of the first fears a parent has when they discover they have a gay, lesbian or bisexual son or daughter is that their child will be denied the basic right to get married," said Marcie Mathis, the Pacific Northwest Regional director for PFLAG. "While many gay and lesbian couples choose to have a commitment ceremony and start families, this decision leaves them continuing to lack the basic and essential legal protections for their children and for themselves that only legal civil marriage can provide."
Couples and families across the state, including here in Kitsap County, cite examples of how the law (such as the one upheld by the court today) is directly harming their loved ones. Just this month, Kathy Reim, a PFLAG mom in Bellingham recently had to pay for ad space -- something provided complimentary to heterosexual couples -- to announce her daughter's wedding.
"While this might seem like a minor thing to some people, it is a vivid example of how the lifelong commitments of our loved ones are treated as second class," said Reim.
"Today the Washington State Supreme Court effectively shut the door on equality, and we will be looking to the legislature to open that door to all families," Reim concluded.
Learn more about the Bremerton/Kitsap County PFLAG chapter: http://www.geocities.com/kitsappflag/.
Find out about marriage equality from PFLAG: http://pflag.org/Marriage.html.