Governor Christine Gregoire signed legislation Wednesday that allows married same sex couples moving to Washington to have access to the state’s domestic-partnership law.
“The more states that do this, the more credibility we have of getting the DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) repealed, because the individual states are saying we recognize this, why don’t you? So I think that’s a big deal,” Carol Ehrhart, President of the Inland Northwest LGBT Center told KXLY.
House Bill 1649 passed the state senate last week by a 28 to 19 vote.
The law grants the rights and protections given to registered domestic partnerships in Washington to same sex couples married outside of the state, but same sex marriages still are not legal across the state.
In 2009, Washington voters approved a law to extend “everything but marriage” to same sex couples, creating a loophole in the state law. Although same sex couples could register as domestic partners, couples married outside of the state were not recognized as having the same rights and protections.
“It’s a very straightforward bill; some would even say it’s technical,” Rep. Laurie Jinkins, who introduced he bill, told The News Tribune. “We’re just recognizing what voters in this state have said they wanted to do.”
Although five Republican Senators supported the bill, other Republicans opposed the legislation, claiming it brought Washington one step closer to legalizing same sex marriage.
“There’s really no need to do this reciprocity because our laws actually are really quite frankly much more liberal than many of the other states involved,” Sen. Don Benton said. “I think it leaves us open in the future in terms of being subjected to whatever any other legislature might pass.”
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