Posts tagged: domestic partners
The Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund today launched a free phone hotline and website to gather accounts of threats or other harassment of people gathering signatures for Referendum 71. The ballot measure asks voters to throw out a new law granting state-registered domestic partners, including same-sex couples, most of the same rights as spouses under state law.
“If you have been threatened or suffered retaliation after signing an R-71 petition, or someone prevented you from signing an R-71 petition, please tell us what happened,” the website says, urging people to fill out a “legal intervention request form.”
“Washington voters shouldn’t have to choose between being involved in the democratic process and opening themselves up to possible acts of retaliation as a result of having their personal information posted on the Web,” ADF senior counsel Gary McCaleb said in a press release announcing the hotline and website.
The group maintains that the new law makes marriage and domestic partnerships “effectively the same except in name,” a premise that legislative proponents deny.
The ADF’s move is partly in response to whosigned.org, a group that’s vowing to publicize the names of anyone who signs the petitions to put the measure on the fall ballot. Opponents are also running a “decline to sign” online pledge in hopes of preventing social conservatives from getting the roughly 150,000 signatures they’ll need to trigger a statewide vote.
From the governor’s office:
Gov. Chris Gregoire on Monday will take action on three bills which expand rights to domestic partners:
Engrossed Substitute House Bill No. 1445, relating to domestic partners under the Washington State Patrol retirement system.
Engrossed House Bill No. 1616, relating to the state pension benefits of certain domestic partners.
Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill No. 5688, relating to further expanding the rights and responsibilities of state registered domestic partners.
10:30 a.m. Gov. Gregoire to take action on HB 1445, HB 1616 and SB 5688
Montlake Community Center, Multipurpose Room
1618 E Calhoun St
SB 5688 gives domestic partners, including same-sex couples, most of the rights and responsibilities of spouses under state law. (Federal law doesn’t recognize domestic partners.) It has prompted a referendum attempt by church groups and others who say that is virtually the same thing as same-sex marriage. The Faith and Freedom Network and others have filed Referendum 71, which would ask voters in November if they want to veto the new law.
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.
Today, however, Attorney General Rob McKenna’s office has said that the ballot title and summary won’t be issued until Gov. Chris Gregoire signs the bill into law. Since Gregoire doesn’t plan to sign the bill until Monday, that means another week lost before Referendum 71 filers can start printing up petitions.
(It also means, however, that the Refendum 71 folks won’t face the risk of spending thousands of dollars printing up petitions, only to see them all rendered moot if Gregoire vetoes some section of the bill.)
“We have begun our work in drafting a title and summary for this measure, but the bill in question has not yet been enacted, as it has not been approved by the Governor as required by the constitution,” deputy solicitor general Jim Pharris wrote today to Secretary of State Sam Reed, the state’s chief elections officer.
Gregoire can also veto parts of the bill. If she does that, Referendum 71 organizers would have to re-file the measure.
(Photo: people waiting to testify at a House hearing re: domestic partnerships in February.)
Foes of the state’s new “everything but marriage” law plan to file a referendum at noon today at the Secretary of State’s elections office in Olympia, according to Dave Ammons, a spokesman for Secretary of State Sam Reed.
The measure’s apparently being filed by Larry Stickney, president of the Washington Values Alliance, and supporters.
The bill, expected to be signed into law soon by Gov. Chris Gregoire, expands the rights and responsibilities of same sex (and heterosexual senior citizen) domestic partners, granting them most of rights of spouses. It does not allow same-sex marriage. But foes of the legislation, including Stickney, argue that the changes set the stage for a court challenge that could lead to same-sex marriage.
Stickney and supporters would have until July 25th to gather 120,577 valid voter signatures, according to Ammons. If they get enough, the measure would appear on the Nov. 3 ballot for voters to decide.
The filing also means that the new law will be suspended until the referendum is decided.
Conservative religious groups are preparing a voter referendum to overturn a bill granting same-sex partners most of the rights and responsibilities of spouses.
Senate Bill 5688 passed the legislature yesterday and is headed to Gov. Chris Gregoire, who is expected to sign it into law.
Proponents say it’s a simple matter of fairness, that same-sex couples and their children deserve the same sort of protections and rights that married couples have. Opponents argue that the bill, after a trip through court, will lead to same-sex marriage.
This afternoon, Faith & Freedom’s Gary Randall emailed a note to supporters:
While the lawmakers were voting in favor of homosexual marriage in the Capitol, I and several other leaders in the faith community were meeting a few blocks away, finalizing details before filing a referendum to overturn this legislation.
…Their next step will be an easy one them. Litigate, correctly claiming there is no legal difference, then claim discrimination and it’s a done deal.
They will have successfully done an end-run on the State Supreme Court ruling which upheld DOMA and will have dismantled the Defense of Marriage Act.
If same-sex marriage becomes reality in Washington (as it has in four other states), he argues, Washington “will become a national attraction for homosexuals” from other states and countries.
More from the e-mail:
We know we will be outspent probably 6 to 1 or more on this referendum campaign, however we are equally confident, people of faith and conservatives will do all they can do to help us.
Proponents of the bill have repeatedly said they expect a referendum, and are prepared to take the debate to the public.
(And thanks to the helpful person who compiled this for me.)
28: Number of sign-in sheets required for the standing-room-only crowd that testified in a House committee Thursday.
197: Number of people who signed in.
43: In favor of the bill, which would grant domestic partners virtually all the rights and responsibilities of married couples.
7:40: The number of minutes and seconds it took Rep. Roger Goodman to read the names of everyone who had signed in.
Rather than try to shoehorn my lengthy print story into a blog post, here are some quotes from yesterday’s standing-room-only hearings on the “everything but marriage” law for state-registered domestic partners in Washington.
“You may not consider my family a family, but I know in my heart that they are. So will you please pass this bill, so that everyone can know that this is my family?”
-Benjamin, the 10-year-old son of one Seattle lesbian couple
“Genuine marriage has provided for the foundation of healthy and harmonious family living for civilized societies for centuries. It does not exist just for the emotional satisfaction, affirmation or validation of individuals, but for the greater good of the social order.”
-Larry Stickney, with the Washington Values Alliance
“When our kids now ask us if we’re married, we say, ‘Not in the eyes of the law, but yes, we are married in our hearts.’”
-Amie Bishop, a social worker and mother of Benjamin.
“It was said that (same-sex marriages briefly performed in Oregon) never existed. It was a devastating and humiliating experience. All of sudden, we felt totally negated, and that we and our relationship did not exist and there was no protection for us.”
-retired National Guard Col. Grethe Cammermeyer.
“They should be satisfied withthe status quo. Enough is enough.”
-a grandmother whose name I didn’t get.
“I say this respectfully, but there’s going to come a time when we’re all going to have to stand before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account for things done in the flesh.”
-Roy Hartwell, pastor of a church near Olympia.
“We’re here, we’re coming, we’re voting…We’re voting in your districts … We’re voting for this.”
-David Iseminger of Seattle.
“We vote as well…We will be back.”
-Gary Randall, with the Faith and Freedom Network
(For more context on the quotes, click on the story link above.)
Lawmakers in the House and Senate have introduced bills to broaden the rights of couples who register with the state as domestic partners. So far, nearly 5,000 couples have signed up for the registry. Many are same-sex partners; others are heterosexual senior citizens. (The latter group could marry, but doing so would mean that some widows and widowers would lose pension benefits or other rights linked to a deceased spouse.)
Two years ago, lawmakers approved the registry and granted the partners rudimentary rights, such as being able to visit each other in the hospital and make health care decisions for each other.
Last year, those rights and responsibilities were expanded to cover property rights and set up a formal process for dissolving the partnerships.
This year’s legislation — a first draft was nearly 2,000 pages long — is an attempt to give those couples virtually all the rights and responsibilities of married couples in Washington. It covers about 300 things, including pension benefits, estate taxes and things as mundane as automatically transferring a business license to the surviving family member.
For the purposes of this chapter, the terms spouse, marriage, marital, husband, wife, widow, widower, next of kin, and family shall be interpreted as applying equally to state registered domestic partnerships…
the bill says repeatedly. The couples would not, however, be married. Two other bills would allow same sex marriage, but neither of those is expected to pass this year.
“It is not marriage, but it is everything that heterosexual families have currently,” said Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle.
Marriage, he and other proponents say, remains the goal.
“What we know