Senate takes up domestic partnership parentage bill now

By | April 21, 2011 | 0 Comments

The Senate is taking up the domestic partner parentage bill — that previously included paid surrogacy, which was removed in the House.

“I don’t think it’s necessary and I’m opposed to it. I like the idea of having a mother and a father in our culture and in our society,” said Sen. Don Benton. He said he’s against the bill.

“Regardless of what your feelings are about domestic partnership … it’s clear that the laws of the state of Washington are not adequate to address modern times,” said Sen. Craig Pridemore. He said right now, those who desperately want surrogates will drive out of state. “In the meantime, this bill is progress on an important issue.”

Sen. Cheryl Pflug said she supports the bill, which “is an update to our statutes regarding parentage… it does not change the meaning of mother and father,” she said. Instead, it inserts the word “parent” in a number of places in the law.

The compromise bill passed 27 to 21.

Rep. Pedersen wants to repeal ban on paid surrogacy, Publicola reports

By | January 5, 2010 | 0 Comments

Publicola talked with Rep. Jamie Pedersen, who shared two of his legislative priorities: Amend the domestic partnership law and repeal the law banning paid surrogacy.

On the domestic partnership front, Pedersen told Publicola he’d like to see domestic partnerships, civil unions and gay marriages from other states recognized here.

And for more on surrogacy, read the recent New York Times piece on the legal issues surrounding it here.

Additional domestic partnership benefits start Thursday

By | December 2, 2009 | 0 Comments

Starting tomorrow, the “everything but marriage” law goes into effect. That means domestic partners who are already registered with the state will automatically receive the remaining state-granted benefits and responsibilities of married couples.

Registrations will continue to be done through the Secretary of State’s Corporations and Charities Division. But dissolution will be done
through the courts — like a divorce.

In related news, registrations have surged since voters approved the domestic partnership expansion in November. The typical rate was about 35 to 40 registrations per week before the election. For the past few weeks, an average of 90 couples have registered per week. The office does not ask for the sex of registrants and so there is no way to know how many registrants are couples over age 62 or same-sex partners.

Watch The Impact: Referendum 71, Nile Valley Landslide and more

By | November 12, 2009 | 0 Comments

From host Jessica Gao: Washington voters make history with the approval of Referendum 71, which expands the rights of domestic partners to include all the state-granted rights of married couples. It is the country’s first ever statewide vote in support of a gay rights issue. We talk with State Senator Joe McDermott (D-Seattle) about what the vote means for Washington and for the national gay rights debate. Is this vote an anomaly or does it represent a shift for the gay rights movement?

Plus, we head out east to Yakima County to get a view of the Nile Valley Landslide. We’re updating you on the progress of the state and local agencies coordinating this massive emergency response effort. We also talk with the state geologist about monitoring the stability of the Nile Valley Landslide and other slide-prone regions around the state.

Here it is:

Domestic partnership expansion takes effect Dec. 3

By | November 11, 2009 | 0 Comments

Voters approved Referendum 71, which means Senate Bill 5688 — to extend all the state-granted rights and responsibilities of marriage to domestic partners — stands. According to the Secretary of State’s blog, there’s a 30-day waiting period after the election for the law to take effect.

That means the expanded rights won’t be available to domestic partners until Dec. 3, 2009.

For more on that, go to their blog here.

Update on R-71: Signatures are in

By | July 27, 2009 | 0 Comments

On Saturday, the group behind Referendum 71 — which would cancel the implementation of the 2009 Legislature’s “everything but marriage” law for domestic partners -- turned in their signatures to the Secretary of State’s office. They estimated that they had 138,000 voter signatures.

The signatures will be scanned for archives, counted and then checked for validity, according to Dave Ammons, communications director for the Secretary of State. The process could take up to two weeks. Here‘s more of what Ammons has on the matter.

The “everything but marriage” law was supposed to take effect on Sunday — this puts that on hold. If R-71 don’t have the signatures to make the ballot, the law will go into effect as soon as that’s determined. If it does have the signatures, the law will be on hold until election results are determined: If R-71 passes, the extension to domestic partner benefits passed by the Legislature last session will not go into effect, if it fails, the benefits go into effect once the election is certified.

A first look at Referendum 71 — all 114-pages-in-one

By | June 10, 2009 | 0 Comments

As you may recall, Referendum 71 — the one to repeal the everything-but-gay-marriage bill — faced a big challenge: How to get 114 pages of the text of the bill onto one, readable page (as is required by state law).

Well, they figured it out and here’s a first look, courtesy of Dave Ammons from the Secretary of State’s office: ref

They have until July 25 to collect about 120,000 valid voter signatures. Go here for more info.

Elections Division is concerned about R71 opponents pledge to publish names

By | June 2, 2009 | 0 Comments

Yesterday, a group called Who Signed announced that they would publish the names of Washington voters who sign Referendum 71 — the initiative to repeal the domestic partnership expansion.

The names of voters who sign petitions are, of course, public record. But the state’s Elections Director, Nick Handy, said this is an instance where making the information public may be seen as a threat by some. At the Secretary of State’s blog, Handy said: “A vigorous debate on the issues is always welcome, but efforts to intimidate or repress participation are not. It just doesn’t feel like the culture we have here in the state of Washington. An unhealthy chilling effect occurs when public debate reaches a point where the passion of some individuals drives some folks to take actions that are viewed by others as threatening or intimidating. We call for open and healthy public debate without resort to these methods.

For their part, the people behind Who Signed say they’re publishing the names to allow people to have conversations with their neighbors — and that similar things have been done in other states without violence or intimidation resulting.

Initiative supporters file an appeal of domestic partnership initiative language

By | May 27, 2009 | 1 Comments

Last night, supporters of an initiative to prevent the expansion of domestic partnership filed an appeal to the Thurston County Superior Court on the proposed ballot language.

The proposed language was:
“…This bill would expand the rights, responsibilities, and obligations of registered domestic partners and their families to include all rights, responsibilities, and obligations granted by or imposed by state law on married couples and their families.”

But Larry Stickney, the initiative backer who filed the appeal, proposed this:
“This bill would expand the rights, responsibilities and obligations of registered domestic partners to be equal to the rights, responsibilities and obligations granted by or imposed by state law on married couples, except that domestic partnerships will not be called marriages.”

The appeal will now be heard by the court, but that may be a few weeks, according to the Secretary of State’s office. Since the group cannot collect signatures until the appeal is heard and the language is determined, the appeal gives them less time to collect signatures. They need to get 120,577 signatures from valid, registered voters in the state of Washington by July 25 in order to get on the November ballot.

Fitting 114 pages onto one readable page … the initiative process

By | May 26, 2009 | 0 Comments

The always-interesting Office of the Secretary of State’s blog, From Our Corner, has checked out the requirements for initiatives and found a conundrum for the initiative to prevent expansion of domestic partnership: The 114-page bill must be printed — in a way that’s readable — on one sheet of paper.

“… no multiple page stapled petitions, and no teeny, tiny type font that nobody could actually read.

So what to do? Well, the law doesn’t say how BIG the single sheet can be, nor how many times it can be folded. So a large double-truck size newspaper broadsheet, folded several times might work, especially if you use a fairly small type font, like 6 point.”

Read the whole thing here.

Anti-everything-but-gay-marriage initiative gets a title — still too early for signature gathering

By | May 18, 2009 | 0 Comments

Gov. Chris Gregoire signed what some have called the everything-but-marriage bill for domestic partners today, moving the initiative against that bill further one step closer to signature-gathering stage.

The Attorney General and Secretary of State offices had put the initiative on hold until Gov. Gregoire signed the bill — since she could have vetoed part or all of it. Now that she’s signed it, the initiative has been given a ballot title and text.

But — no signature gathering yet. Both sides have a chance to contest the title or text in Thurston County Court. That takes about a week, according to the Secretary of State’s office. When that ends, the initiative supporters can begin gathering signatures. They’ll have until July 25 to get 120,577 valid signatures from registered Washington voters in order for the initiative to make November ballots.

According to a news release sent by the Secretary of State’s office, if it does make it on the ballot, the law extending rights and responsibilities of married couples to domestic partners will not go into effect until December 2009 — if at all.

Here’s the concise description that will appear on official material: “This bill would expand the rights, responsibilities, and obligations accorded state-registered same-sex and senior domestic partners to be equivalent to those of married spouses, except that a domestic partnership is not a marriage.”

Gregoire to sign domestic partnership bill on Monday

By | May 15, 2009 | 0 Comments

Gov. Gregoire’s office sent out a notice that she will sign the bill to extend all the rights and responsibilities of marriage to domestic partners on Monday in Seattle.

The bill changes state law to say that every state-issued right and responsibility of marriage will be extended to registered same-sex couples. An initiative has already been filed challenging the bill. See all our coverage on the issue here.

In addition to the domestic partnership bill, she’ll also sign bills dealing with domestic partners and the Washington State Patrol pension program and state worker pension benefits.

TVW will cover the event and air it Monday. Check back here for details.

Domestic partnership passed

By | April 15, 2009 | 0 Comments

The House passed the bill to extend all the state rights and responsibilities of marriage to same-sex domestic partners — while I was away from my desk. Sorry for the delay.

Here’s Gov. Chris Gregoire’s statement: “I want to thank the legislators who worked tirelessly to get this bill passed in the House. This legislation will expand basic benefits, provide better financial security and ensure equal treatment for domestic partners living in Washington state. Our state is one that thrives on diversity. We have to respect and protect all of the families that make up our communities. I look forward to receiving this bill, and signing it into law.”

The bill passed 62 to 35 and now heads to the Governor.

Domestic partnership bill is up in the House now — LIVE on TVW

By | April 15, 2009 | 0 Comments

Watch the bill to extend all the rights and responsibilities of marriage to domestic partners is up in the House right now. Watch live on TVW or at

There are quite a few amendments, so it will be a while before the main bill is debated.

The complete Domestic Partnership debate

By | March 11, 2009 | 0 Comments

In case you were not up watching the Senate at 10 p.m., here you are:

Domestic partnership bill passes Senate

By | March 10, 2009 | 0 Comments

The Senate passed the bill to extend all the rights and responsibilities of marriage to domestic partners. The vote was 30-18.

Here is our coverage on the bills (one House bill, one Senate bill), including both the Senate and House hearings.

Both bills say the same thing: Wherever the word “marriage” exists in state statute, the bill adds a clause that says the same goes for domestic partners.

In debate, Sen. Ed Murray, the bill’s sponsor, said the bill is about basic rights for same-sex couples — like using sick leave if your partner is ill. He said it had nothing to do with adoption — which is already legal for same-sex couples in this state — or require teaching about homosexuality in school, as some opponents have alleged.

But Sen. Val Stevens said the bill is basically marriage — and that the previously passed “Defense of Marriage Act” was meant to prevent this.

The complete domestic partnership hearings here

By | February 6, 2009 | 0 Comments

Yesterday, I was blogging along with the House and (some of the) Senate committees that were hearing bills to extend all the state-granted rights and responsibilities of marriage to domestic partners. I meant to post the entire videos but didn’t get a chance until now. Here you are, along with the legislative analysis for each:

House Bill 1727:

Senate Bill 5688:

Sen. Ed Murray: “This bill is not marriage.”

By | February 5, 2009 | 0 Comments

Sen. Ed Murray is testifying on his Senate bill to extend all the rights and responsibilities of marriage to domestic partnerships.

“I do want to take just a moment and talk about what the bill is not. This bill is not marriage … This bill does not deny — and there’s nothing in it — a person’s freedom of speech. People can denigrate gay and lesbian people today under our Bill of Rights. And they will still be able to denigrate gay and lesbian people under our Bill of Rights.

On TVW right now: The Senate domestic partnership hearing

By | February 5, 2009 | 0 Comments

Sen. Darlene Fairley just opened the committee hearing by saying there would be no nonsense like at this morning’s hearing. “I won’t put up with that,” she said.

Tune to TVW or watch at now.

More testimony: Shea opposed to Bar Association endorsement

By | February 5, 2009 | 0 Comments

Richard Lum from Seattle says: “My older sister and my younger brother are married and they automatically have rights that my partner of nearly 3 years and I don’t have.”

Rep. Matt Shea said he’s very concerned about the Washington State Bar Association expressing their support for the bill. He said membership to the association is mandatory for lawyers in the state, and Shea — a lawyer — didn’t support the message.