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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Governor Signs Domestic Partner Law

posted by on April 21 at 17:36 PM

In their minds, Carol McKinley and Barbara Gibson have been married since a 2001 ceremony at their church. Now, under a measure signed into law by Gov. Chris Gregoire today, they’ll get some of the rights that come with matrimony.

The new law creates a domestic partnership registry with the state, and will provide enhanced rights for same-sex couples, including hospital visitation rights, the ability to authorize autopsies and organ donations and inheritance rights when there is no will.

The law takes effect July 22—here’s hoping my boyfriend doesn’t drop dead before that date, otherwise I won’t have the distinct honor of donating his organs or authorizing his autopsy.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m grateful to have these rights, and we’re going to get DP’d as soon as we can. Mad props, as the kids were recently saying, to Ed Murray, Jamie Pedersen, the Dems in Olympia, and the governor. But we’re really not going to be content until we’ve secured the other, oh, 1200+ rights and obligations that come with marriage.

But, hey, we’ve got those autopsies nailed down. It’s a victory and, considering what the last few years have been like, we’ll take it.

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What does getting DP'd have to do with donating organs? And seeing as how neither of you have vaginas... well, I've heard anal DP is pretty intense. Have fun!

Oh... wait... "domestic partner"ed.

Sorry... terrible joke. Very glad this law is taking effect, and looking forward to further improvements!

Posted by L | April 21, 2007 6:24 PM

Dan is absolutely correct about our goal. I thought I would "repost" the following:
My saddest day as a legislator was the day in 1998 when the republican majority voted to deprive thousands of gay and lesbians couples the right to marry. As the only gay member at the time, it was personally very painful, knowing what it meant to my partner Michael and me. The domestic partnership legislation is the beginning of the effort that will change that terrible day and lead to marriage equality. As difficult as it might be for those of us in the Seattle area, most people in this state, including legislators have not thought much about marriage equality. We have a lot of work ahead us to educate the state about the reality of our families; we need to organize as never before. The debate on domestic partnership was a significant step in telling the story of lesbian and gay families. Last year we won civil rights in this state for lesbian and gays, and we will win marriage equality.

Posted by Ed Murray | April 21, 2007 6:30 PM

Joseph full suport domestick partnarshipps it wondarful thing. I beleieve akseptence of all type lifestile make mor harmoneius sosiety. I dont have domestick partnar, but cat Hank, who by way name aftar medeival singar with countrie bend, she my partnar. Latelie Joseph worry. I heer tennis rakit made cat gut. Oh this bad. Dont want cat Hank beecome tennis rakit. Joseph kreate livng will. Wen Hank die go striaght to grounde. No orgn donur. Now Joseph pease of mind.

Posted by Joseph | April 21, 2007 7:33 PM

What ARE all the rights? I know there are some, but I honestly don't know what rights come with marriage, and every time I try to find just an out-and-out list of marital rights, even a general not-by-state one, I get a whole lot of other words tacked on. Is there a bulleted list that enumerate what it is that's so special about marriage? Because I've been married for six months, and so far I've only lost rights, like the right to claim myself as a student on my taxes.

Posted by Kat | April 21, 2007 7:43 PM

Dan, won't you have to get an annulment first? Should be easy now that your wife has married someone else.

Posted by pox | April 21, 2007 8:34 PM

It is definitely better than nothing, but I'm not sure it's actually a step down the path of marriage equality. Three states offer civil unions (and MA has full-on marriage, of course) which are marriages in all but name and have all the same rights. Eventually, presumably, people will realize how stupid it is to have a separate name for civil unions and will change it to plain ol' marriage.

California, and now us have "Domestic Partnerships" (and HI the even more stupidly named Reciprocal Beneficiaries law) that give SOME rights to same-sex couples and seniors. But these don't really aim to be the same thing as marriage. The inclusion of straight seniors, who could easily get actually married, means that DPs aim to create a separate (inferior) marriage-like option. So some will have marriage, some will have DPs, and only lucky straight seniors will have the privilege of actually choosing which to do.

I mean, eventually (barring disaster, apocalypse, or fundamentalist coup) there will be real marriage equality in the US. But the next 15, 20, however many years until that happens are going to be marked by huge state-by-state disparity in how much gay couples are getting screwed over. Washington state may be coming down on the wrong side of that.

Posted by Cate | April 21, 2007 11:10 PM

Hot Damn! Now all I gotta do is get a man and I'll be able to fulfill my fetish for authorizing an Autopsy!

Posted by Brandon h | April 22, 2007 2:10 AM

"The inclusion of straight seniors, who could easily get actually married..."

This is false. Many widowed seniors cannot legally get remarried without losing pensions, insurance, etc. The choice between state recognition and one's only income and protection from illness is no choice at all.

Posted by Travis | April 22, 2007 3:30 AM

"was married in my mind, but married in my mind's no good..."

Posted by pink triangle | April 22, 2007 5:38 AM

Now if I can just get my spouse to take the leap... I figure by the time we're allowed to REALLY get married I'll have worn him down.

Posted by Mark Mitchell | April 22, 2007 8:28 AM

health care facility visitation rights;

ability to grant informed consent for health care for a patient who is not competent;

authority of health care providers to disclose information about a patient without the patient's authorization to the patient's state registered domestic partner;

automatic revocation of the designation of a domestic partner as the beneficiary for nonprobate assets upon termination of the partnership;

automatic revocation of power of attorney granted to domestic partner upon termination of the partnership;

title and rights to cemetery plots and rights of interment;

ability to authorize autopsies and request copies of autopsy reports and records;

right to control the disposition of the remains of a deceased person;

ability to consent to removal of human remains from a cemetery plot;

ability to make anatomical gifts;

inheritance rights when the domestic partner dies without a will;

administration of an estate if the domestic partner died without a will or if the representative named in the will declined or was unable to serve;

beneficiary rights in wrongful death actions; and

ability to designate a partner's physician as the attorney-in-fact.

PEBB if one of the partners is a state employee the other one gets state benefits

Posted by Ramza | April 22, 2007 11:49 AM

Isn't the Kid against marriage? And can I please, please be invited to the ceremony?

Posted by Karla Marx | April 22, 2007 11:58 AM

Thank you guys. And...I hope I will never be in a position to use most of these "benefits"...the right to make decisions about his body after he's dead? The right to sue someone if he decides to start cheating? Whee. Lookit those.

I can see where federally filing jointly would be a huge benefit if you make some sort of money, and I truly believe every responsible adult should be allowed to marry. I also agree with the principal of the movement.

Posted by Kat | April 22, 2007 12:56 PM

It's a start.

Pity that someone in the Associated Press screwed the pooch in their story titled "Washington governor signs domestic partnership bill" that begins with:

"OLYMPIA, Wash. A new law in Washington state will give gay and lesbian couples most of the rights married couples have."

There must be a new New Math where the list of 15 health care and end of life rights we were granted are considered *most* of the more than 400 state level rights accorded opposite sex married couples.

It seems like this wording is only appearing in the broadcast related AP feeds. The error turns up on TV (KOMO last night) and radio (NPR this AM) and, according to AP in Seattle, is likely the result of a broadcast specific edit. No one in AP will be getting back to me on this until tomorrow after the crunch covering the end of the Washington state legislative session is over.

More on this at my blog.


Posted by The Gay Curmudgeon | April 22, 2007 4:21 PM

Of the remaining rights not yet granted, what are the big ones? (I mean practically speaking - I realize they are all big in a political, ethical, and symobolic sense).

Posted by Sean | April 22, 2007 10:54 PM

Ability to make anatomical gifts?

"Baby, this year for Christmas, all I want is your spleen."

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