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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Ka-Bam

posted by on January 25 at 16:25 PM

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.

RSS icon Comments

1

murray is right.

Posted by wf | January 25, 2007 4:24 PM
2

damned straight he is.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 25, 2007 4:26 PM
3

The fact that your tootin' the same horn as Pam Roach ought to give you some pause here. Young het couples can marry, even if they'd rather not, and get all of these proposed DP benefits and more. Homos don't have that option. Roach is trying to derail the bill by making it too broad and Murray knows well that that would kill it. He's right to consider these separate issues.

Posted by jforrest | January 25, 2007 4:35 PM
4

I don't understand the "siblings" reference. Siblings already have rights over one another, do they not?

Why is Murray even bothering with this DP bullshit? Let's call it "marriage" and vote!

Posted by DOUG. | January 25, 2007 4:42 PM
5

Too bad Sen Murray has doomed the bill to end in failure. By saying "GAY ONLY" that is discrimination against hetros... albeit a shoe on another foot. You can't counter discrimination with discrimination, no matter how good a person thinks the payback would feel.

Posted by Phenics | January 25, 2007 4:54 PM
6

This bill merely collects all of the rights that you could give to another person through a complex set of legal agreements and puts them into a single, accessible instrument. It doesn't talk about adoption or child custody, however, nor would it be applicable outside of Washington.

To me, I don't necessarily think that there are any significant advantages to hetero couples signing a document like this, except perhaps if you start thinking about taxes, or if you just want the chance to say that you aren't married, just DPed. (Heh.)

The elderly? Well, this bill seems less of a means to gain rights, and more of a way to cheat the rules of the pension game. Whether this should be enshrined in legislation, I don't know.

In the end, though, one thing is for certain. Although it would be ruinous to open this up to young hetero couples for certain political reasons, there is no reason why they should be excluded for practical or legal ones. Again, as this is just a set of rights that you could potentially get through existing legal instruments, streamlining this process to make it accessible to every couple, straight or gay, is not wrong.

Posted by bma | January 25, 2007 5:04 PM
7

ok, now we're ALL confused.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 25, 2007 5:21 PM
8

DOUG @ 4: There is a separate bill calling for marriage equality. It's going to lose. Please do fucking pay attention.

Phenics @ 5: It isn't gay only. Please do fucking pay attention.

Posted by switzerblog | January 25, 2007 5:36 PM
9

Phenics @ 5: Discrimination against heteros? You're a nutjob. Heteros already have all of these rights just by getting married. Gays have none of them. Before we start handing out more options to het couples, why don't we throw gay folks a few bones.

Posted by jforrest | January 25, 2007 5:51 PM
10

The reasons my boyfriend and I aren't married is because queers can't.
Thanks Ed! Sorry I voted for you-prick.

Posted by lisa | January 25, 2007 7:18 PM
11

I think everyone should take advantage of the legal opportunities afforded them as couples, and then fight for those same opportunities for everyone else. A better way to champion a cause would be through direct action, not with passive-aggressiveness.

Posted by Kate | January 25, 2007 8:41 PM
12

Fuck young straights. They can fucking marry. That's the right we're fighting for. If they can't fucking appreciate it, they can fucking suffer.

Posted by Gitai | January 25, 2007 10:18 PM
13

"Fuck young straights. They can fucking marry. That's the right we're fighting for. If they can't fucking appreciate it, they can fucking suffer."

Isn't this pretty much the position, and the tone, of anti-gay bigots? Eg.: "Fuck young [gays]. They can fucking [stop being gay around me.] That's the right we're fighting for. If they can't fucking appreciate it, they can fucking suffer."

Lots of committed het couples aren't married and maybe don't want to be, or don't want to be yet, for a host of legitimate reasons. The proposed DP registration statute singles out one such situation - widows/widowers w/ pension survivors' benefits - for special treatment. If you're going to do that, any principled rationale for why you shouldn't extend DP registration to any couple that wants it falls away.

And, keep in mind that the D's have supermajorities in both houses. Pam Roach has an opinion? So what?

Posted by dfgh | January 26, 2007 10:45 AM
14

Either have this legislation apply to gays only or have it apply to everyone. By throwing elderly couples into the mix, the legislation becomes deliberately discriminatory. Elderly straights can already get married. They have those protections, they just occasionally have to make some sacrifices (giving up a pension) to get them.

Posted by keshmeshi | January 26, 2007 11:05 AM
15

Great.

Now we have young straight couples who donít want to get married pissed at gay people who canít get married.

And all because they feel excluded from some shitty, barely-better-than-nothing, second-class DP bill. Looks like thereís a traffic jam at the back of the bus.

Oh, for fuckís sake.

Posted by Original Andrew | January 26, 2007 11:28 AM
16

Fuck this bullshit bill. Work on marriage equality. This is further proof that Ed Murray ain't the sharpest tool in the shed.

Posted by DOUG. | January 26, 2007 12:12 PM
17

There is something odd about Charlene Strong's story. I work at a hospital (although not Harborview, where Kate Feming went) and we never deny access to a patient to the partners of a patient, same sex or not. I have never seen it happen. Did she not mention that she was the partner? Even then, I have never seen even friends denied to see a patient, provided the person isn't undergoing some procedure.

Posted by Blacksheep | January 26, 2007 2:05 PM

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