A domestic partner bill for Washington state which passed the Senate last month and passed the House yesterday by a vote of 63-35 is headed to Governor Christine Gregoire who is expected to sign it
According to the Seattle Times, “The legislation would give gay and lesbian couples the right to visit a partner in the hospital, inherit a partner’s property without a will and make funeral arrangements, among other things. Those rights also would be extended to unmarried heterosexual couples in which at least one partner is 62 or older. Supporters say older heterosexuals were included because they face the possibility of losing pension rights and Social Security benefits if they remarry.
Last July, the state’s highest court ruled that Washington’s ‘Defense of Marriage Act’ did not violate the state’s constitution. Proponents of same-sex marriage who suffered a setback then see the domestic partner bill as an important first step to getting marriage rights back on track for gays and lesbians.