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April 17, 2009


In 2007, Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire signed the state's first Domestic Partner bill into law. That bill was a domestic partner registry that provided some of the same rights bestowed on straight marriages to lesbian and gay couples and their families. In 2008, the Governor signed legislation that expanded those domestic partner rights to include 160 of the more than 400 rights and responsibilities afforded to married couples.

A couple of days ago, the Kirkland Reporter announced that on April 15th, the Washington State House of Representatives voted to expand those rights once again.

The new Domestic Partnership Expansion bill was passed in the House by a margin of 62-35 and in the Senate several weeks ago by a margin of 30-18. This new expansion now grants approximately 250 additional rights and responsibilities to registered domestic partners.

“We applaud the Washington state legislature for providing these important protections under Washington state law to committed lesbian and gay couples and we thank Senators Ed Murray and Joe McDermott and Representatives Jamie Pedersen, Dave Upthegrove, Jim Moeller and Marko Liias, as well as Equal Rights Washington for their leadership on this civil rights issue,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “This is another important step toward full equality, and it will provide tangible, much needed legal protections for families in Washington.”

Of course, the religious, right-wingnuts trotted out their old favorite scare tactics by saying that the bill would infringe upon religious freedom, cause social upheaval and that children who came from homes that didn't have both a mother and a father were more likely to become "delinquents".

Fortunately, thanks to the active and very public support of child care professionals around the world, most people - and, more importantly, most legislators are beginning to realize that all of those bogus arguments never were true.

The bill now goes to Governor Gregoire who is expected to sign it into law.

Congratulations to all those in Washington state who worked so tirelessly for this victory. I have no doubt that eventually the term "Domestic Partnership" will simply morph into "Marriage."