Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Washington Same-Sex Domestic Partnership Law Goes Into Effect

Feminist Daily News :

A new law authorizing domestic partnerships for same-sex couples went into effect on Monday in Washington State. Couples were in line long before the registration building opened in Olympia at 8 am, and throughout the day, over 155 couples celebrated their newly recognized partnerships.

Many of the couples registering on Monday acknowledged that, although domestic partnerships are an important first step, they will continue to fight for equal marriage rights for same-sex couples in the whole country. 'I'm anxious for the day we will be legal in all states, not just this one,' Lee Wyman told the Herald Net, an Everett, Washington paper. 'I look forward to the day I can say [my partner] is my husband,' Wyman added.

Washington has a law defining marriage exclusively as a union between a man and a woman. The law was upheld by the Washington Supreme Court in 2006. ...

The new Washington law also permits domestic partnerships for unmarried heterosexual couples if at least one partner is older than 62. Before, older people could lose pension rights and Social Security benefits if they married.

Interesting potential coalition possibilities in that last twist...Also some interesting (if not necessarily novel) theoretical and practical questions concerning the relationship of federal and state laws where, as here, federal tax law incorporates state law definitions of relationships--except where it doesn't, as with gay/lesbian marriages.

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