In 2006, Washington State Supreme Court Justice Richard B. Sanders signed an opinion that, on its first page, declared that the rights of marriage should not be extended to homosexual couples because of "the unique and binary biological nature of marriage and its exclusive link with procreation and responsible child rearing."
The opinion also compares gay marriage to polygamy and, by way of explaining why gays don't make responsible parents, says this:
I bring all this up because it seems Justice Sanders has been playing a double game on his gay marriage ruling. On July 23, when he was at The Stranger offices seeking our endorsement in his re-election race, Sanders tried to downplay his involvement in the above ruling, saying he'd mainly signed on because of the opinion's interpretation of one clause of the state constitution.
We weren't buying it. Sanders is famous for writing his own opinions whenever he has a particular issue to bring up, and he easily could have done so in this case. After about 40 minutes of him dodging responsibility for his ruling in this manner, we were growing rather frustrated. Here's what happened next:
No surprise, we didn't endorse Sanders.
Then yesterday, the campaign of Sanders's opponent, Charlie Wiggins, sent around a letter that the group Friends of Justice Richard B. Sanders has been mailing to potential Sanders supporters. One snippet from the letter:
The letter goes on to note that this set off "a firestorm of controversy and resulted in the freshman justice being hauled before a disciplinary review board." (And because he was willing to be persecuted for talking at a pro-life rally on his first day as an elected state supreme court justice you should send money right now!) Here's another snippet:
At the Stranger offices, Sanders downplays his opposition to gay marriage on the grounds that gays make bad parents. But when his friends are rustling up supporters elsewhere in the state, they praise him for upholding "traditional marriage," call him a "fearless" defender of freedom, and use it all as a fund raising pitch.
This is probably a classic example of why we shouldn't elect our state supreme court justices. But it's also a classic example of a political double game, and Justice Richard B. Sanders is playing it with gusto—and trying to play you in the process.