Sept 23, 2005
Volume 33
Issue 38

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Same-sex couples needed for response to Supreme Court decision on marriage equality
Same-sex couples needed for response to Supreme Court decision on marriage equality
ERW to build online clearing house for Washington's LGBT community

By Robert Raketty - SGN Staff Writer

Equal Rights Washington, the state's largest pro-Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender rights organization, announced this week that it is seeking couples who wish to marry following an expected Washington State Supreme Court decision on marriage equality. Should the state's highest court role for the plaintiffs in the case, same-sex couples could begin marrying as early as the following Sunday.

"If the Supreme Court rules that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, it will mean that loving, committed, gay and lesbian couples will have the rights and benefits they need to take responsibility for one another," ERW Executive Director Fran Dunaway told the Seattle Gay News on Thursday. "These couples will finally know that their children will receive the same protections and benefits as everyone else's children. They will know that when there is a health crisis, they will be viewed as next-of-kin, not shown the hospital room door. And, should their spouse die, the surviving spouse will know that there are protections in place in that greatest time of grief and need."

With the possibility that Washington State could become the second state to sanction marriages for same-sex couples, ERW hopes to prepare couples for the media onslought and complex legal questions that are expected. The organization plans to host workshops for couples on media and wedding preparedness.

Couples who reflect the diversity of the state are encouraged to participate. Couples of all ages, races, religions and creeds are needed, according to Dunaway.

In addition to working with same-sex couples, ERW is working with Nectar Communications and Indigo Design to create a new and more comprehensive web site. Dunaway hopes the site will become a clearing house of information for all political and advocacy issues related to the LGBT Community in Washington State.

When the marriage decision is handed down, ERW plans to update its web site with pertinent information regarding the ruling and its meaning. "There may be confusion about what the decision means and ERW is working closely with the Northwest Women's Law Center, the ACLU and Lambda Legal to prepare for the eventual ruling," said Dunaway.

For more information about ERW or its workshops, e-mail or visit:

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