Gay Marriage | Jamie Pedersen | News | Washington

Washington State Domestic Partner Bill Passes Senate 30-18

Despite fierce opposition and deceptive television commercials from the religious right, a domestic partnership bill has passed the Washington state senate and is headed to the House:

Pedersen_murray "Not since the Legislature debated and passed the state's Defense of Marriage Act a decade ago, defining marriage as between one man and one woman, has a gay-rights issue generated such frenzy in Olympia. Religious and traditional-values groups are waging campaigns to derail the measure, which passed 30-18 Tuesday night. In commercials broadcast on cable outlets and posted on YouTube, in a newspaper ad, and through phone calls to state lawmakers, they're targeting legislators and voters in swing districts, warning that the bill redefines traditional marriage. They've packed legislative hearings and flooded the offices of state lawmakers with telephone calls. They plan a rally in Olympia next week to get their message across."

The bill was introduced in January by openly gay Senator Ed Murray and (the House version) openly gay Rep. Jamie Pedersen.

Said Murray: "Morally, we hope this discussion leads to marriage. Legally it does not. My partner and I have been together 18 years and would love the opportunity to marry. Domestic partnership is as close as we can get without being granted marriage."

There are 5,111 couples already registered in the state's domestic partner registry, according to the Seattle Times, and the bill would extend "marriage-like" benefits to them: "Under Senate Bill 5688 and its companion, House Bill 1727, all remaining areas of state law that now speak only to married couples would be amended to provide domestic partners benefits in such areas as workers' compensation, pension, unemployment and the use of sick leave to care for one another. The bills would also require same-sex partners to go through the same process as married couples when dissolving their unions. The measures would not confer federal benefits to registered domestic partners — such as filing a joint income-tax return — and in most other states, these Washington benefits would be invalid."

The House bill appears ready to pass easily, according to Slog.

One of the deceptive ads the religious right has been running, AFTER THE JUMP...

See all of these misleading ads HERE.

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  1. Actually that commercial is rather weak. At least the Yes on 8 commercials really laid the bullshit on thick. After watching two commercials, I still don't know what I'm supposed to be calling the senators for since there is no same sex marriage bill.

    I thought domestic partnerships and civil unions were supposed to be the "compromise". It appears that the compromise doesn't seem to hold any water for the religious right. No one is calling it marriage and it still isn't the same as marriage since no federal benefits apply.

    Posted by: Aiden Raccoon | Mar 11, 2009 9:36:08 AM

  2. You can bet that the rightwing will mount a spirited effort to put this to a referendum vote. They are already galvanized to do so. Washington has some of the most active, zealous, and organized anti-gay forces in the county, with a long history of getting anti-gay initiatives on the ballot. We need to get ready to win that vote right now.

    Posted by: Javier | Mar 11, 2009 10:01:01 AM

  3. I fully expect WA Values Alliance ( to try and put a Prop 8-like voter initiative on the ballot as soon as they can. I don't have any good predictions, but if Prop 8 taught us anything it's that we need to be on the offense from the start.

    Please feel free to donate time and/or money to Equal Rights Washington (

    Posted by: David R. | Mar 11, 2009 2:54:54 PM

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