Gregoire Signs Bill Recognizing Domestic Partners in WA

May 27, 2009 ( - Washington Governor Christine Gregoire signed into law S.B. 5688, which essentially makes state-registered domestic partnerships the equivalent of marriages.

Under the bill, domestic partners in Washington have to be treated the same as married persons for all purposes under state law (see Domestic Partners in WA Would Have More Rights under New Bill). The bill requires state agencies to amend their rules so those in registered domestic partnerships are 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” apply to state-registered domestic partnerships in the same way they apply to marital relationships and spouses.

According to an SHRM news report, the bill passed the state House by a vote of 62-35 and the Senate by 30-18. It becomes effective July 26 unless opponents seeking to repeal it can collect enough signatures to get a referendum on the November ballot.