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Emotions run high after court's decision
From feelings of relief to tears of pain, Wednesday's state Supreme Court ruling brought up very personal emotions and deeply held beliefs.
The decision's supporters
George Toles, 67, an Edmonds businessman, said he was sorry about the hurt the decision would cause. "I don't take any glee or joy. But I do think there is a standard here that has been upheld by the state Supreme Court and I commend them for it."
Toles, who will celebrate his 45th wedding anniversary in August, said he believes anything that supports the institution of marriage between one man and one woman is priceless. With society changing so rapidly, "there are certain values in the culture that are worth holding on to. I think this is one that should be guarded."
Allowing gay marriage, he believes, would have opened the door to forms of marriage that would not be ideal for children or society.
Cassie Crawford, a 20-year-old student in Bellevue, believes the same thing.
If same-sex marriage becomes legal, "then we're no longer teaching children the importance of having a husband and a wife. They are complementary. ... They're equal, but they have different roles to play."
Ellen Braun, 42, a Bellevue account manager, is a divorced mother of a 9-year-old son.
"Every day I see the effects of the degradation of marriage on him," she said. He sees his father regularly, but "he still really struggles for the affirmation he needs from his dad. As a woman, I can't address those things."
So she takes pains to show him how valuable marriage is. "I want him to trust in the institution."
The decision's opponents
David Serkin-Poole and his partner of 25 years, Michael Serkin-Poole, cried during the drive from their Bellevue home to Seattle this morning.
"We kind of got kicked in the gut today ... simply because of who we are," said David. "We pay taxes. ... Why should my status be second-class?"
The Serkin-Pooles — David is a cantor at a local synagogue, Michael a stay-at-home father — have adopted three children, now in their 20s. They are one of 19 same-sex couples who sued Washington state and King County for the right to marry. They brought two gold wedding bands to a news conference this morning, which they had intended to symbolize what they hoped would be a legal marriage.
Instead, they talked about how the court decision relays the message that they are not good enough. "The government says your relationship doesn't exist," David said. "It's an insult that's in your face every day."
Peter Ilgenfritz and Dave Shull, another plaintiff couple, are worried about the ruling's effect on gay youth and the children of gay parents.
"It plants a seed of doubt that says you're not acceptable," said Shull, a social worker. "That there's something bad about you or the parents who raise you."
West Seattle resident Yvonne Ogden Eldress, 69, donned black pants Wednesday and looked for black crepe paper to drape on newspaper boxes around town — "just to let off steam."
After being married for 27 years, the mother of three children — and a writer, poet and performing artist — came out as a lesbian when she was 48.
Marriage still isn't her choice. But "I want people to be able to follow their hearts," she said.
The ruling "really hurts. It just really hurts."
Seattle Times staff reporters Anne Kim, Janet I. Tu, Marsha King and Charlotte Hsu contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company