Legal expert Associate Professor Tanya Washington with Georgia State University’s College of Law is available to discuss the matter of same-sex marriage in Alabama, state officials’ resistance to a federal judicial ruling, and the new questions that were brought up by the U.S. Supreme Court’s denial of a stay extension.
Washington has researched extensively on educational equity and issues arising at the intersection of domestic relations, race and children’s constitutional rights. Her scholarship has been published in numerous legal journals.
She co-authored a Supreme Court amicus brief in the U.S. v. Windsor case, the case that led to the overturn of part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act; the brief highlighted the adverse impact of exclusionary marriage laws on children.
“Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore’s order to probate judges to ignore federal court decisions legalizing same-sex marriage represents a remarkable show of resistance to the exercise of federal authority,” Washington explained.
“It also highlights federalism issues that lie at the heart of the same-sex marriage debate, which the U.S. Supreme Court will answer in the marriage case it will be deciding this term,” she continued.
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the state government’s request for an extension of the ruling in a lower federal court, with only associate justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia dissenting.
“Does this raise questions about how Associate Justice Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts’ positions on the constitutionality of marriage bans, or does it reflect differences of opinion on the relevance of states’ rights in the analysis?” Washington said.
“By denying the stay and allowing Alabama’s same-sex couples to marry, the U.S. Supreme Court has increased the population of married people across the country whose marriages would be invalidated by a Supreme Court decision deeming state bans constitutional,” she said. “It’s more legally challenging and politically and socially disruptive to divest someone of a right they enjoy than to withhold the right in the first place.”
Prior to joining Georgia State Law, Washington was a toxic tort defense litigator at Piper & Marbury. She holds a B.A. degree from James Madison University and a J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law. She completed the Albert M. Sacks Fellowship, the A. Leon Higginbotham Fellowship and earned her LL.M. from Harvard Law School. She also completed a visiting assistant professorship at the University of Maryland School of Law.
For more information, including links to her publications, visit http://law.gsu.edu/profile/tanya-monique-washington/.