domestic partnership

Rita Hibbard's picture

Washington domestic partnership law passing; Maine same-sex marriage law losing

rita_hibbardwebIt may be that if you call the union "marriage," it loses at the ballot box. Washington voters are appearing to approve a domestic partnership law that gives same-sex couples all the benefits of marriage without the label, while Maine voters are turning down a gay marriage law.

The Washington domestic partnership ballot measure was leading narrowly statewide as ballots were counted Tuesday night, the Seattle Times reports, and leading strongly in King County returns. The measure, a referendum on a law passed earlier this year by the Legislature, was doing well in the metropolitan Puget Sound area, and being rejected in the more rural areas of eastern Washington.

The Maine vote is widely considered a stinging defeat to gay marriage advocates, especially because it occurred in New England, which has been more receptive to other areas of the country to same-sex unions. It follows on the heels of a similar pattern in California, where voters overturned a gay marriage law at the ballot box last year.

The New York Times reports:

"With the repeal of the same-sex marriage law, Maine became the 31st state to reject same-sex marriage at the ballot box. Five other states — Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire and Vermont — have legalized same-sex marriage, but only through court rulings and legislative action.

-- Rita Hibbard

Rita Hibbard's picture

Microsoft gives $100,000 to the campaign to save domestic partnership

rita_hibbardweb3Microsoft  has come out for the 'everything but marriage law' in Washington state, donating $100,000 to the campaign seeking to retain the state's expansion of the state's domestic partnership law. The law, up for a public vote Nov. 3, extends marriage-like state benefits to gay and some senior couples.

The Seattle Times reports that the donation brings to nearly $780,000 the total amount raised so far by Washington Families Standing Together. That far outweighs the $60,000 raised to date by the law's opponents, Protect Marriage Washington, the group that forced the measure onto the ballot by gathering 120,000 signatures. It's the largest donation the campaign has received so far.

As InvestigateWest reporter Carol Smith recently reported in a story broadcast on Seattle radio station KUOW, voting on Referendum 71 can be tricky. A "yes" vote would leave intact the expanded rights for domestic partners already approved by the Legislature. A "no" vote would repeal those rights.

Smith reported on senior couples who don't realize how the law could adversely affect them.

Anne Levinson chairs the Approve 71 campaign to uphold the state's domestic partner rights. She told Smith that many seniors don't realize hospitals could keep them from a loved-one's bedside.

Ref. 71 makes the ballot, campaigning begins

After nearly a month of meticulous signature counts, the results are in: Referendum 71, which could allow Washington state voters to overturn the "everything but marriage" law granting rights to gay couples,  has qualified for the November ballot, reports the Everett Herald staff.

Despite efforts by supporters of gay rights to halt the process, the secretary of state's office said Monday that petitioners had obtained over 1,000 extra signatures, giving voters a chance to decide on whether an extension of the state's domestic partnership law has a place in Washington.

However, the lawsuit filed by Washington Families Standing Together has not gone unnoticed. The group's request for an injunction that would block the secretary of state from officially placing Ref. 71 on  the ballot is expected to have an answer by Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Janet I. Tu of the Seattle Times reports that opponents and supporters of Ref. 71 are already gearing up for the next stage: two months of heavy lobbying. Said Anne Levinson, chairwoman of Washington Families Standing Together:

It's full speed ahead.