Jim Johnson is a Candidate for Injustice: Part 5
You've seen one post today on how Jim Johnson will put profits over people. Courtesy of the Stan Rumbaugh campaign, here's another example of Jim Johnson's skewed view and his take on whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. The Defense of Marriage Act is a sore subject for me, as the scare-mongering that went into this campaign really hurt, when some of the more stable couples I know are same-sex couples. In kudos to Justice Fairhurst, while I don't agree with every opinion she had written, she had the courage to write a wonderful dissent on this case. It is one of the reasons I can say I was proud to have worked for her. The junk science cited by the majority was especially problematic for me, and I'm sure for anyone who has read, and disagreed with, the opinion. Anyhow, here you go:
Contact: Brendan Williams, (360) 791-3979
A year ago today should have been the date that legislation finally giving domestic partners in Washington equal rights to married persons took effect. That date was of course delayed when activists forced the issue to a referendum before voters—ultimately celebrated on Election Day 2009 when Referendum 71 was approved by 53.15% of the electorate.
Of course, none of that would have been necessary had not exactly two years prior, on this day in 2006, the Washington State Supreme Court handed down a shockingly backwards decision in Andersen v. King County, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) case.
The decision was devastating and infuriating for the families represented in the case, not to mention their loved ones and allies across the state, nation, and world.
But no one expected the ugliness that flowed from Justice Jim Johnson’s pen. Unsatisfied with the blockade, the Court’s opinion threw up against the basic rights of Washington’s LGBT community, Johnson wrote a separate concurring opinion that was an unadulterated distortion of our Constitution, science, and even established law. In his close-minded abuse of power he chided the minority’s defense of fundamental fairness as mere “political correctness”.
Johnson found that there was no unconstitutional infringement in the exclusive preference of heterosexual couples, and further found that the state had a compelling interest in regulating marriage to the limited definition. This was because of the “unique and binary biological nature of marriage and its exclusive link with procreation and responsible child rearing.” The dissent pointed out that this made no sense whatsoever taken in light of all the childless straight couples and presented a problem for any barren or sterile straights who might want to marry, but Johnson paid no attention to the inconsistencies of his position.
Instead he repeatedly promoted the shocking procreation-centric position, and threw in some shop worn homophobic arguments for good measure:
- He compared laws against gay marriage to laws against polygamy, and in fact posited that polygamists would be better positioned for recognition under the law because their relationship was based upon religion.
- He suggested that finding statutes like DOMA an unconstitutional infringement would also make all marriages unconstitutional.
- He found that same-sex parents were scientifically recognized as less-suitable parents.
- He argued that DOMA was not a violation of constitutional rights because it didn’t prevent equal opportunity for heterosexual marriages for everyone—regardless of interest.
Underscoring the historical importance of the judicial branch in addressing individual and institutional discrimination in society, Johnson compares DOMA to the laws barring interracial marriage just a few generations ago. However, he attempted to draw a clear distinction between the two and calls the dissent “disturbing” for trying to link the two.
But make no mistake about it, they are cut out of the same legal cloth. Johnson writing, “The complementary nature of the sexes and the unique procreative capacity of one man and one woman as a reproductive unit provide one obvious and nonarbitrary basis for recognizing such marriage. The binary character of marriage exists first because there are two sexes,” is the same brand of poison dressed up as science as Judge Brazile’s “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix,” in Loving v. Virginia in the sixties.
Indeed, this reminds that judicial decisions are inextricably linked to the key moments in society’s advancements. They can delay such moments and cling to regressive standards, or they can highlight the ways our Constitution and laws can drive communities forward into more inclusive and equal chapters.
Justice Johnson not only failed to seize his responsibility in that moment, but he led the charge in the opposite direction. His voice on the bench helped make Washington an argument for continuing the abuse of the personal liberty and legal protection of citizens when it is his very job to do the exact opposite.
For more information visit: www.johnsonsinjustice.com
For more information on Stan Rumbaugh visit: www.rumbaughforjustice.com