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The following is a Press Release from the Human Rights Campaign:
Bill adds hundreds of rights and responsibilities to current law
WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today praised the Washington State House of Representatives for passing the Domestic Partnership Expansion bill on a 62-35 vote. This follows a positive vote of 30-18 in the state Senate several weeks ago. The bill will provide registered domestic partners with access to the rights and responsibilities granted to spouses under state law.
“We applaud the Washington state legislature for providing these important protections under Washington state law to committed lesbian and gay couples and we thank Senators Ed Murray and Joe McDermott and Representatives Jamie Pedersen, Dave Upthegrove, Jim Moeller and Marko Liias, as well as Equal Rights Washington for their leadership on this civil rights issue,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “This is another important step toward full equality, and it will provide tangible, much needed legal protections for families in Washington.”
The bill now heads to the desk of Governor Christine Gregoire for signing. In 2007, Governor Gregoire signed the first Domestic Partner bill into law, creating a domestic partner registry and providing some rights to lesbian and gay couples and their families. In 2008, the Governor signed legislation providing domestic partners with 160 of the more than 400 rights and responsibilities afforded to married couples. This year’s Domestic Partnership Expansion bill grants approximately 250 additional rights and responsibilities to registered domestic partners.
The Human Rights Campaign worked directly with Equal Rights Washington to mobilize thousands of supporters to lobby their legislators in Olympia, send over 35,000 emails and make thousands of phone calls to legislators.
In addition to Washington, eleven states plus Washington, D.C. have laws providing at least some form of state-level relationship recognition for gay and lesbian couples. Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa (as of April 27, 2009), and Vermont (as of September 1, 2009) recognize marriage for gay and lesbian couples under state law. Four states—California, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon—plus Washington, D.C. provide gay and lesbian couples with access to the state level benefits and responsibilities of marriage, through either civil unions or domestic partnerships.
Maine and Hawaii provide gay and lesbian couples with limited rights and benefits. New York recognizes marriages by gay and lesbian couples validly entered into outside of New York.
Lesbian and gay couples do not receive federal rights and benefits in any state. To learn more about state by state legislation visit: www.hrc.org/state_laws.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.