Last week, Washington legislation was passed through both Houses to grant marriage equality to same-sex couples in the State- at least in all but name anyway.
The Domestic Partnership Expansion effectively grants same-sex couples in Washington all of the same rights and responsibilities afforded straight, married couples- at least as far as the state is concerned. All that’s needed at this point is Governor Christine Gregoire’s signature, which is expected to happen without any issue.
Included in the hundreds of rights that have been added are increased rights for domestic partners to claim survivorship rights in pensions and tax benefits, as enjoyed by married couples. This is a huge win. If you want to get a feel for what the lack of this right does to relationships, watch If These Walls Could Talk 2- it’s a brilliant movie and there is a very moving story about a lesbian couple affected by this issue.
Some of the more heinous arguments from those opposed to the bill were that it would “infringe religious freedom, cause social upheaval and- by implication- that children are move likely to become ‘delinquents’ in homes not supported by both a man and a woman” (Kirkland Reporter.com). My favorite quote however is this:
“Same-sex couples have the right to form meaningful relationships. But I don’t think they have the right to redefine marriage for all of us,” said Sen. Janea Holmquist, R-Moses Lake.
I find that comment absolutely reprehensible. Nothing in this bill talks about redefining marriage or altering its definition in Washington, whatsoever. Hells Bells- They still aren’t even calling it “marriage”!
Ridiculous opponents aside, this is absolutely great news for Washington- and by extension- the United States. I can’t say I don’t wish they had just gone all the way and legalized gay marriage, but it’s still a bold move in the right direction and you won’t find me faulting anyone for that! Including Washington, there are 22 states plus Washington, D.C. that have laws recognizing gay and lesbian couples in some form on the state level. 30 states have gay marriage bans as part of their constitution, and, as we all know- there are currently no federal marriage rights afforded gay couples.