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State Bill Would Dramatically Expand Domestic
Partnership Rights

Washington
State Bill Would Dramatically Expand Domestic
Partnership Rights

A bill was introduced in the Washington State legislature Tuesday that would offer same-sex couples all the rights and benefits given to the state's heterosexual married couples, reports The Seattle Times. Democratic senator Ed Murray's measure would build upon the domestic-partnership law he successfully sponsored in 2007; Rep. Jamie Pederson will carry the bill in the house. Both legislators are gay and come from districts that include Seattle.

A bill was introduced in the Washington State legislature Tuesday that would offer same-sex couples all the rights and benefits given to the state's heterosexual married couples, reports The Seattle Times.

Democratic senator Ed Murray's measure, Bill 5688, would build upon the domestic-partnership law he successfully sponsored in 2007; Representative Jamie Pederson will carry the legislation, Bill 1727, in the house. Both legislators are gay and come from districts that include Seattle.

The 110-page bill reportedly addresses all portions of Washington statute that solely refer to married couples by adding same-sex domestic partners to areas dealing with labor, employment, pensions, and other governmental employee benefits.

"This is everything but marriage," Pedersen told the Times Tuesday night, adding that it was still an inadequate substitute for full marital rights. "Our hope is that the continuing success of this legislation helps people understand what marriage is, and that it gets them more comfortable with treating all families with equality dignity and respect."

A same-sex marriage measure also introduced Tuesday has little chance of moving given lack of support, both lawmakers said.

The original domestic-partnership law provided hospital visitation rights, the ability to authorize autopsies, and the power to make decisions regarding organ donations and inheritance rights when no will exists. Last year the legislature voted to extend those provisions to other areas of state law that addressed probate and trusts, community property and homestead exceptions, and guardianship and powers of attorney.

The new legislation will be formally announced at a press conference Wednesday. (Advocate.com)

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