Posts tagged: Jamie Pedersen
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