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Thursday, August 05, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
Judge says plaintiffs know what making commitment means
By Seattle Times staff
Downing wrote: "(Their) lives reflect hard work, professional achievement, religious faith and the willingness to stand up for their beliefs. They are law-abiding, taxpaying model citizens. They include exemplary parents, adoptive parents, foster parents and grandparents.
"They know what it means to make a commitment and to honor it."
Here's a look at the eight couples who filed suit against King County. They want either to be married or to have their marriages recognized by Washington state:
Heather Andersen and Leslie Christian: Andersen runs a management-consulting company, and Christian is president of an investment-management company. They have been a couple for 14 years and exchanged rings nine years ago.
Johanna Bender and Sherri Kokx: Bender is a lawyer, and Kokx is an eighth-grade science teacher. They have been together for seven years. Parents of a preschooler and an infant, they each adopted the child born to the other, but say they've had difficulty securing mutual rights to property and medical leave.
Janet Helson and Betty Lundquist: Together for 12 years, they're raising two children, ages 8 and 3. Lundquist works as a bookkeeper, and Helson is an attorney. They are former foster parents and find it ironic that the state will license them to care for other people's children but not to marry.
Peter Ilgenfritz and David Shull: Both ministers, they have been together for nearly 20 years. They were the first same-sex couple to be married in a religious ceremony at St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Chicago. They have officiated at many weddings.
David and Michael Serkin-Poole: Together for 23 years, the Bellevue couple have three adult children, all disabled. David Serkin-Poole is cantor at Temple B'Nai Torah, and Michael Serkin-Poole is a stay-at-home dad. They considered going out of state to wed but want the court to allow them a legal marriage ceremony in their home state.
Vegavahini "Vega" Subramaniam and Vaijayanthimala "Mala" Nagarajan: They share roots in South India and met in Washington state. They have been together for six years and were married in a Hindu ceremony two years ago. Subramaniam manages a nonprofit organization, and Nagarajan is a business-systems analyst.
Michelle Esguerra and Boo Torres De Esguerra: Together for five years, they are qualified to work as apprentice electricians. They say they can't afford the legal fees required to establish medical powers of attorney, domestic partnership agreements or wills. Torres De Esguerra is a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and she would like her partner to be eligible for the union's health plan.
Beth Reis and Barbara Steele: Reis is a health educator at Seattle and King County's public-health department, and Steele is a research consultant at the University of Washington. They have been a couple for 26 years and have three children, 11 grandchildren, one great-grandson and a great-grandchild on the way.
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