posted by January 25 at 16:25 PMon
Well, the domestic-partnership hearing (overflowing, btw, with a second hearing room set up so folks can watch on TV) started off with a serious PR coup for supporters of the bill.
Charlene Strong spoke first. Charlene’s partner, Kate Fleming, died on December 15 when their Madison Valley home was flooded in last month’s infamous storm and Fleming was trapped in the basement.
Well-composed, Strong recounted how, after almost dying herself trying to save Fleming, she was denied access to Fleming’s hospital room (as Fleming was dying). She was finally admitted after a phone call from Fleming’s family okayed it. Next, Strong recounted how she had to get Fleming’s family to sign off on Fleming’s wish to have her body donated to medical science. And lastly, Strong (angry now) explained how she was not able to play a role in Fleming’s funeral arrangements.
Strong and Fleming were together for 10 years. The DP bill would give domestic partners rights on hospital visitation, making medical decisions, and deciding funeral arrangements.
P.S. Addressing the discrimination against young hetero couples that I noted in my earlier post, someone just gave testimony asking that the bill be amended to include DP for all couples, and suggested calling that bill “Domestic Partnerships for All.”
Committee member Senator Pam Roach (R-31, South King, North Pierce) then asked the bill’s sponsor Senator Ed Murray (D-43, Capitol Hill, U-District, Wallingford) if he would be open to an amendment to broaden the bill. Murray said, “No. We are confusing issues.” Murray then said that gays have a history of advocating for domestic partnerships while this afternoon was the first time we were hearing about other demands, from say siblings who care for one another. His point, it seemed, was to argue that same-sex couples’ demands for domestic partnerships had more legitimacy or carried more weight.