Thursday, July 20, 2006

Down from Olympia...Maybe

Out in Olympia, judges on the Washington State's highest court is touchy about same-sex marriage. No Supreme Court Justice Susan Owens isn't planning a wedding, but she is tired of politically based speculation.

Yesterday, she predicted the release of the long-delayed ruling on SSM by September...before the primary election and long before the general one. Many, including us, have noted the obvious about some of the judges, including Owens, being up for re-election in the fall.

By the court's normal schedule, this ruling should have appeared in the winter or spring. Original predictions were that it would before the legislature went out of the session for the year at the end of March. That would have given the body time for legal remedies if required by the decision. Even Governor Chris Gregoire said last month, "I don't think it's coming before the election."

"We have never held cases. I resent when people say that," Owens told the AP after a Supreme Court candidate forum. "It's not going to be very long. We're at the point now where I can say that."

The AP found agreement from the lawyer for the couples suing to marry. Jamie Pedersen cited the champion system the court uses to get a majority. "Anytime somebody changes something in one opinion, the others get a chance to change what's in their opinions. They'll issue the decision when they're done writing it."

The indefinite nature of this, combined with the delays stretching toward two years, makes the sked here for dealing with the anti-SSM amendment seem breathtakingly fast.

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