Friday, March 2, 2007

A Step in the Right Direction for Washington State

On my way home from school I happened to glance at a Seattle Times newspaper stand as I walked by. I was very happy to read that the Washington State Senate has passed a bill creating 'domestic partnerships' which provide some of the same legal rights as marriage does. Governor Gregoire has said she supports the bill, so she is expected to sign it if it passes the house. Domestic parnerhips will provide hospital visitation, inheritance, funeral arrangement rights, as well as a few other rights. Hopefully this is just a stepping stone to establishing equal marriage rights for gay couples in the next few years.
The Seattle Times article has an interesting map showing the states that have same-sex partnership laws and the states that have legislation pending. Washington will be the seventh such state.

I have to applaud Sen. Dale Brandland from Bellingham who was the only republican to vote for the bill. Dale cited hearing Charlene Strong speak as the reason he voted for the bill. Charlene spoke in the senate earlier about being denied the right to visit her life partner, who later died, in the hospital after her partner was trapped in her basement studio by rising storm water. Way to go Dale; way to put principle over party.

I should note that in general I oppose conferring special economic rights on married couples, but because the current government sanctioning of marriage is not likely to change anytime soon, I support equal application to heterosexual couples and homosexual couples.