How do I start a class-action lawsuit against Washington State regarding the unconstitutionality of referenda 71 & 74?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Spokane, WA

The way I read the State Constitution, Articles I and II prohibit the majority from putting up the civil rights of a minority for a referendum or initiative vote. The judicial branch failed to prevent these two referendums from being voted on, and is therefore guilty of violating the state constitution. Initiatives and referenda are for issues such as school levies, not for voting on the civil rights of a minority. The WA state constitution also prohibits government officials from using their personal religious beliefs to do their job, and this is also not being upheld. Religious institutions, groups, non-profits, citizens, and politicians are committing legislative hate crimes against the gay citizens of Washington State. I know I have a case. Who will help?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Timothy A. Provis

    Pro

    Contributor Level 15

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Dear ?,

    You say " The judicial branch failed to prevent these two referendums from being voted on, and is therefore guilty of violating the state constitution." No, courts do not have jurisdiction (power) to interfere with elections unless someone brings a lawsuit before them arguing for some specific relief. Since there apparently was not, or is not now, any such suit the judicial branch did not violate the constitution in any way. It was, in fact following the constitution by refusing to exceed its jurisdiction.
    Now as far as your theory that refusing to allow gays to marry is an interference with their freedom of religion (the 1st Amendment religious freedoms are 2: the freedom to practice your religion, whatever it may be, and the freedom from being required to follow a state sponsored religion) and so unconstitutional, this could be an interesting idea but it would have only a limited reach because it could only affect those gay citizens who belong to a religion which sanctions gay marriage. There are one or two, I believe, but I hardly think its a good idea to ask all the gays in Washington state to join those religions just to secure the right to marry. The right to marry should be broadly available to everyone, not just those who belong to a specific religion.
    The other half of your religion claim, i.e., state officials are establishing a state religion which prevents gays from marrying and forcing it on them, seems also untenable because, while there are unquestionably religions supporting restrictions on gay marriage, these restrictions are not being instituted by any government or any religion but through referendum, i.e., a vote of the people. If these restrictions do pass in November, then there will no doubt be a court challenge to them based on substantive Due Process, that is, the U.S. Supreme Court has declared a fundamental right to marry and so the argument is it should extend to all.
    So I don't think much of the present legal theory behind your suit.
    But, you are of course free to try to sell your theory to the courts, so you need to consult with counsel in your state with experience in civil rights cases. You can find such counsel right here on Avvo by clicking on Find a Lawyer at the top of this page. If you cannot afford a lawyer, this will be a problem and you will have to form a group or join a group to raise money
    for your lawsuit.

    Yours sincerely,
    Tim Provis
    Cal. Bar No. 104800
    Wis. Bar No. 1020123
    Member: U.S. Supreme Court Bar

  2. Charles B. Upton II

    Contributor Level 15

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I am not a Washington attorney, nor do I keep up with Washington politics. But your question makes it sound like you want to challenge the Supreme Court of Washington’s decision under the State Constitution. That may not be possible. In any event, you will need to consult with a constitutional lawyer licensed to practice in Washington. This site can help you find such an attorney or you could contact your state’s bar association.

    My answer to your question does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you would like a free consultation,... more
  3. Rixon Charles Rafter III

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . I do not believe you've a case, for reasons well stated by attorney Provis.

    READ THIS BEFORE CALLING OR EMAILING ME: I am licensed to practice before the state and federal courts in Virginia.... more

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