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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Olympia

Same-sex marriage and domestic-partnership bills to be introduced next Tuesday…

Lawmakers, including the Legislature’s five openly-gay legislators, just released the details of bills they plan to introduce on Tuesday.
While conceding that gay marriage seems politically impossible to achieve in the statehouse this year, proponents said that domestic partnerships are only a half-measure, for now.
“People’s hearts and minds are changing on these issues,” said Rep. Jim Moeller, D-Vancouver. (At left in photo.)
“I don’t think it’s going to be a long time” before the state sees same-sex marriage, said Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle. (At right in photo.) “This is not 1977.”
The bills had been slated to be introduced today, but were delayed for some last-minute changes. Murray said they'll be introduced Tuesday.
Proponents’ main arguments: that existing law is discriminatory and that strong, stable families with legal protections and the right to make health decisions for each other are good for the state and good for children in those families. As things stand now, they say, many gay- and lesbian partners – no matter how long they’ve been a couple – face the prospect of being shut out of hospital rooms, funeral arrangements or even their own homes if one of the two is hurt or dies.
Interestingly, the domestic partnership would also cover heterosexual couples, provided that at least one of the partners is over age 62. Why? Because many senior women, according to Northwest Women’s Law Center attorney Lisa Stone, can’t afford to remarry after a husband dies, for fear of losing pension or other benefits from that first marriage.
Resistance to the measures will likely be spearheaded in the Senate by Sen. Dan Swecker, R-Rochester, who plans to comment on the proposals later today.
The Faith and Freedom Network, a conservative Christian group, is also likely to push hard to kill both proposals.
"Somethings have changed in the past 10 years. Some have not," Faith and Freedom President Gary Randall wrote to members this morning. "This is a battle we must engage. I believe we can win, but we are surely called to take a stand."

Short takes and breaking news from the Washington Legislature and the state capital.