Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

State House sends domestic partnership expansion legislation to Governor Gregoire

Moments ago, the Washington State House of Representatives voted sixty two to thirty five to send Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 5688 to the desk of Governor Chris Gregoire, marking another major step forward towards the ultimate goal of equality under the law for all couples in Washington State.

UPDATE - Roll call:
E2SSB 5688
Registered domestic partners
House vote on Final Passage

Yeas: 62 Nays: 35 Absent: 0 Excused: 1

Voting Yea: Representatives Appleton, Blake, Carlyle, Chase, Clibborn, Cody, Conway, Darneille, Dickerson, Driscoll, Dunshee, Eddy, Ericks, Finn, Goodman, Grant-Herriot, Green, Haigh, Hasegawa, Hudgins, Hunt, Hunter, Hurst, Jacks, Johnson, Kagi, Kelley, Kenney, Kessler, Kirby, Liias, Linville, Maxwell, McCoy, Moeller, Morrell, Morris, Nelson, O'Brien, Ormsby, Orwall, Pedersen, Pettigrew, Probst, Quall, Roberts, Rolfes, Santos, Seaquist, Sells, Simpson, Springer, Sullivan, Takko, Upthegrove, Van De Wege, Wallace, Walsh, White, Williams, Wood, and Mr. Speaker

Voting Nay: Representatives Alexander, Anderson, Angel, Armstrong, Bailey, Campbell, Chandler, Condotta, Cox, Crouse, Dammeier, DeBolt, Ericksen, Haler, Herrera, Hinkle, Hope, Klippert, Kretz, Kristiansen, McCune, Miloscia, Orcutt, Parker, Pearson, Priest, Roach, Rodne, Ross, Schmick, Shea, Short, Smith, Taylor, and Warnick

Excused: Representative Flannigan
Pretty much a party line vote.

Among those speaking in favor of the bill were Representatives Jamie Pedersen, Fred Finn, and Lynn Kessler (the Majority Leader). Among those speaking against were Representatives Shelly Short, Jay Rodne, and Ed Orcutt.

The House defeated several Republican efforts to attach bad amendments to the bill. Among the harmful changes that were rejected were Representative Rodne's attempt to turn the bill into a referendum (PDF) and Representative Ross' attempt to insert language (PDF) that would force schools to instruct students that marriage is only for heterosexual couples.

The bill expands the rights and responsibilities of state registered domestic partners, allowing them to be treated the same as married spouses. Here's an excerpt from Section 1 of the bill:
Any privilege, immunity, right, benefit, or responsibility granted or imposed by statute, administrative or court rule, policy, common law or any other law to an individual because the individual is or was a spouse, or because the individual is or was an in-law in a specified way to another individual, is granted on equivalent terms, substantive and procedural, to an individual because the individual is or was in a state registered domestic partnership or because the individual is or was, based on a state registered domestic partnership, related in a specified way to another individual.
E2SSB 5688 has already passed the State Senate by a vote of thirty to eighteen. Since the House has passed it without amendment, it now heads to the desk of Governor Chris Gregoire for her signature.

Congratulations to the folks at Equal Rights Washington, who led the way in pushing this legislation through the statehouse.

This is an important civil rights victory that moves us closer towards full marriage equality for all Washington couples.


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