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.