Domestic Partners in WA Would Have More Rights under New Bill

March 13, 2009 ( - The Washington state Senate has passed Senate Bill No. 5688, a measure that would expand the rights and responsibilities of domestic partners who have registered their relationship with the state.

Under the bill, domestic partners in Washington would have to be treated the same as married persons for all purposes under state law, Thompson reports. The bill would require state agencies to amend their rules so those in registered domestic partnerships would be covered by all privileges, immunities, rights, benefits and responsibilities applicable to married people under state law.

In addition, the measure provides that the terms “spouse,” “marital,” “marriage,” “husband,” “wife,” “widow,” “widower,” “next of kin” and “family” would apply to state-registered domestic partnerships in the same way they apply to marital relationships and spouses.

According to Thompson, a House version of the bill was approved by the Judiciary Committee and Ways and Means Committee of the Washington House of Representatives, and is now before the House Rules Committee to be read on the floor of the House.

If the House passes the bill, it will then go to Governor Chris Gregoire.