Today will be a significant day in the States of Washington as Gov. Chris Gregoire is set to sign into law a measure that would expand the state’s domestic partnership law to include “everything but marriage.” The bill would give additional spousal rights and benefits to domestic partners, including same-sex couples and unmarried senior heterosexual couples, in various areas of state law.
If you’ve been reading my blog for some time, this post (w/ its 330+ comments) explains why I hold to a ‘traditional’ view of homosexuality. But having said, I think its preposterous that same sex couples in monogamous relationships don’t have access to the same benefits of heterosexual married couples. The “everything but marriage” expands the domestic partnership laws that gives gay and lesbian couples all the state-provided benefits that married heterosexual couples have.
What do you think? Let’s be respectful in our conversations.
I support the changes; I, speaking only for myself, believe that marriage is between one man and one woman but the notion that same sex couples can’t have the same access to all the benefits Minhee and I have access to is ridunkulous. But I’ll be honest and share that I still wrestle with the ‘rights related to adoption’ not because I don’t think same sex couples can’ t be loving parents but because of the traditional view I have about homosexuality. But that’s another post.
But ugh, a referendum movement (Referendum 71) to overturn this law has already been put together with hopes of getting it on the ballot in November in Washington. And while it may not get as intense or ugly as Prop 8 in California, I suspect it’ll get heated especially in the upcoming weeks as the referendum needs about 150,000 votes to get on the bill:
Opponents of the state’s new “everything but marriage” law for same-sex domestic partners rushed to Olympia last week to file Referendum 71. The clock is ticking, and they only have until July 25th to gather 120,577 valid voter signatures. Assuming a cushion of about 25 percent for duplicate signatures, Mickey Mouses, people not registered to vote, etc., they’ll probably need about 150,000.
There are some of the new changes w/ the the ‘everything but marriage’ law:
- The right to use sick leave to care for a domestic partner.
- The right to wages and benefits when a domestic partner is injured, and to unpaid wages upon the death of a domestic partner.
- The right to unemployment and disability insurance benefits.
- The right to workers’ compensation coverage.
- Insurance rights, including rights under group policies, policy rights after the death of a domestic partner, conversion rights and continuing coverage rights.
- Rights related to adoption, child custody and child support.
- Business succession rights.
The current domestic partnership law already addresses:
- Some public assistance provisions, such as access to state-funded domestic violence shelters.
- Rights and obligations for public officials’ domestic partners to file public disclosure reports.
- Probate and trust laws.
- Guardianship and power of attorney issues.
- Judicial process and victim rights, including testimonial privileges that allow domestic partners the right to refuse to testify against each other in court.
- Dissolution, parenting plans and child support laws.
- Community property and other property rights and responsibilities.
- Homestead exemption laws.
- Health care facility visitation rights.
- Ability to grant consent for health care for a partner who is not competent. Health care providers can disclose patient information to the patient’s partner.
- Title and rights to cemetery plots and rights of interment.
- Right to control disposition of a deceased partner’s remains, including right to make anatomical gifts, authorize autopsies and consent to remove partner’s remains from a cemetery plot.
- Inheritance rights when the domestic partner dies without a will.
- Administration of an estate if the domestic partner dies without a will or if the named representative declines or is unable to serve.
- Making domestic partners beneficiaries of wrongful-death actions. Lawsuits for wrongful death could be brought on behalf of a surviving domestic partner.
- Requiring that information recorded on death certificates include domestic partnership status.