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Washington legislature approves same-sex domestic partnerships

Old 04-11-07, 07:59 PM
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Washington legislature approves same-sex domestic partnerships

OLYMPIA -- Gays and lesbians can't legally wed, but the Legislature took another step toward that Tuesday by passing domestic partnership legislation for same-sex couples.

"It's not marriage," said Rep. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle. "There are more than 400 state law rights or obligations that don't come with domestic partnership, and we are going to have our hands full trying to get those rights and protections, too.

"It's a really important first step in providing some first protections for same-sex couples and their families as well as senior citizens who haven't married and can't afford to do so for various reasons."

The bill passed easily on a 63-35 House vote despite condemnations from conservatives who said the bill was an affront to community values and religious freedom.

Gov. Chris Gregoire plans to sign the bill, which earlier passed the Senate, into law. Senate Bill 5336 creates a domestic partnership registry with the state and provides enhanced rights for same-sex couples, including hospital visitation, the ability to authorize autopsies and organ donations, and inheritance rights when there is no will.

Couples would have to share a home, not be married or in a domestic relationship with someone else and be at least 18.

Similar to California law, unmarried heterosexual couples would also be eligible for domestic partnerships if one partner were at least 62.

The advocates' intent to incrementally move toward gay marriage was one of the main reasons opponents fought the legislation.

"My vote is to protect the institution of marriage," said Rep. Lynn Schindler, R-Spokane. "The next step is to solidify the domestic partner relationship in a marriage contract, and that is why I am voting no on this bill ... because the institution of marriage is how this civilization has been organized for thousands of years." [In the Seattle Times story, a Republican was quoted as saying it was a "sad, sad day" for Washington.]

Rep. Jay Rodne, R-North Bend, said the bill infringes on rights that should be reserved for marriage. Rodne said gay marriage advocates should tackle the issue directly.

"The incentive for this bill is a desire to have a debate about marriage," Rodne said. "I think this body ought to have that debate. Let's bring forth a marriage bill, have that debate, make those votes and vote our conscience. What we do today really clouds the issue.

"It really undermines the incentive for individuals to get married. It further erodes and weakens an already beleaguered institution to our detriment."

Under the current balance of power in the House and a three-minute rule that abbreviated debate, Democrats merely waited out a squall of opposition and voted down a flurry of Republican amendments.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, has been the Legislature's leading gay rights advocate.

"In 1998, this Legislature shamefully acted to discriminate against gay and lesbian families when they passed (Defense of Marriage Act)," Murray said. "Today, with the passage of the domestic partnership bill, we begin to undo that shameful act by providing some protections."

Murray said the bill moves gay marriage one step closer.

"I think we are closer to marriage than people realize, but it's still a multiyear process, it's still going to take a lot of work," he said.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/...omestic11.html

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As the article says, Washington outlawed same-sex marriage in 1998, and in 2006 the State Supreme Court <a href="http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003152467_webdoma26.html">narrowly upheld that act</a> with some rather flimsy logic (that marriage is primarily about procreation).

I'm not in favor of domestic partnerships; instead, I think same-sex couples should have full marriage rights. Domestic partnerships are good for people who need these rights now, but in the long term advocates should continue to push for equal rights.
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Old 04-11-07, 08:13 PM
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Similar to California law, unmarried heterosexual couples would also be eligible for domestic partnerships if one partner were at least 62.
So how this law doesn't apply to heterosexuals 18 and over? Seems like that would have been a no-brainer.
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Old 04-11-07, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
So how this law doesn't apply to heterosexuals 18 and over? Seems like that would have been a no-brainer.
The legislature wants them to get married and get busy making future taxpayers.
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Old 04-11-07, 08:49 PM
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God has decided to respond angrily, by declaring that from this point forward it shall rain all the time in Washington, yea verily.
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Old 04-11-07, 08:56 PM
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... the institution of marriage is how this civilization has been organized for thousands of years.


The same could have been said about slavery.
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Old 04-11-07, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Ranger


The same could have been said about slavery.
Yeah, and FWIW I don't see many tears shed over the collapse of feudalism, either.
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Old 04-11-07, 10:08 PM
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Yeah, down with the outmoded repressive concept of marriage and the imperialist pigs who have foisted it upon the masses for centuries! Fight the power man, yeah!!!
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Old 04-11-07, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
So how this law doesn't apply to heterosexuals 18 and over? Seems like that would have been a no-brainer.
It should. Why wouldn't it be?
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Old 04-12-07, 09:31 AM
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Thanks for the marginal increase in rights, guys!
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Old 04-12-07, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Tracer Bullet
Thanks for the marginal increase in rights, guys!
You'll take whatever crumbs straight people leave you and you'll like it, dammit!
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Old 04-12-07, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Tracer Bullet
Thanks for the marginal increase in rights, guys!
Out of curiosity, is there a similar law where you live?
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Old 04-12-07, 01:22 PM
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"It really undermines the incentive for individuals to get married. It further erodes and weakens an already beleaguered institution to our detriment."
I really need someone to explain this. How does it take away the incentive to get married? Because you can get similar rights in a domestic partnership? So basically, by getting married?

And the instituion is "beleagured" because of the heteros. If they made it harder to get divorced the political scene in Washington would implode.
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Old 04-12-07, 01:24 PM
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It does make sense to simply get rid of the institution from a governmental point of view.
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Old 04-12-07, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
Out of curiosity, is there a similar law where you live?
NYC has a domestic partnership registry, but it doesn't really do anything except make you show up in some governmental list and I guess make you feel good, or something. I think it's supposed to codify things like hospital visitation rights and crap like that, but I've never seen any evidence that it actually works. If someone isn't going to let you in to see your critically injured boyfriend, I doubt saying "but I'm his registered domestic partner!" is going to do anything.

Quite honestly, I find the whole thing insulting.
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Old 04-12-07, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Draven
And the instituion is "beleagured" because of the heteros. If they made it harder to get divorced the political scene in Washington would implode.
No, the institution is beleaguered because some heteros, in an attempt to mitigate the damage done in denying marriage rights to gays, are creating these watered-down marriage-light contracts.
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Old 04-12-07, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
It does make sense to simply get rid of the institution from a governmental point of view.
No it doesn't. Getting rid of marriage from a governmental point of view would be a massive wealth transfer from the average American to estate planning lawyers, accountants, and the like.
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Old 04-12-07, 02:00 PM
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So can hetero couples get the same rights if they just want to live together?
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Old 04-12-07, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by JasonF
No it doesn't. Getting rid of marriage from a governmental point of view would be a massive wealth transfer from the average American to estate planning lawyers, accountants, and the like.
Well that's a good point. Everything else the government does seems to try to lessen our need for lawyers, accountants, and the like.
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Old 04-12-07, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
Well that's a good point. Everything else the government does seems to try to lessen our need for lawyers, accountants, and the like.
I'm not saying the government doesn't create lots of instances where people need to rely on lawyers, accountants, and the like. However, it's generally not considered a good thing (except, of course, by lawyers, accountants, and the like )
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Old 04-12-07, 03:11 PM
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I tend to think they like to say it is not considered a good thing, but their actions would tell you they think it is a great thing.
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Old 04-12-07, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
I tend to think they like to say it is not considered a good thing, but their actions would tell you they think it is a great thing.
Who are "they" in this sentence?
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Old 04-12-07, 04:04 PM
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Legislature and government.

Oh...and YOU!


Probably.

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Old 04-12-07, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Artman
So can hetero couples get the same rights if they just want to live together?
I'd assume they'd have to get the equivalent of a marriage license to get the benefits - domestic partnership license or something. I think common law marriage applies in a lot of places when a couple lives together for a certain length of time anyway.

Since they have to issue something anyway, I still don't understand why the government can't take the license they already require for opposite sex couples and apply it to same sex couples as well. Problem solved and everyone's happy.
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Old 04-12-07, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Draven
Problem solved and everyone's happy.
This is America. There is never a time when a problem is solved and everyone is happy.
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Old 04-12-07, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Draven
Since they have to issue something anyway, I still don't understand why the government can't take the license they already require for opposite sex couples and apply it to same sex couples as well. Problem solved and everyone's happy.
Clearly, you are playing fast and loose with your definition of "everyone".
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