Domestic partnership law gives gay couples same rights as marriage - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Domestic partnership law gives gay couples same rights as marriage

Protest sign from same-sex rights rally in Spokane (November 2008) Protest sign from same-sex rights rally in Spokane (November 2008)

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Gov. Chris Gregoire is signing legislation today (at 10:30 in Seattle) to expand the rights of same-sex couples.

The domestic partnership measure was known as the "everything but marriage" bill in the Legislature. It gives gay and lesbian couples all the state benefits of married heterosexuals.

More than 5,300 domestic partnership registrations had been filed in Washington since July 2007.

Washington is one of five states along with New Jersey, California, New Hampshire, Oregon, and the District of Columbia with laws that recognize civil unions or domestic partnerships similar to marriage.

Five states have legalized same-sex marriage. Thirty states have gay marriage bans.

Opponents have filed a referendum. They'll have until July 25 to collect about 121,000 signatures to force a public vote on the issue in November. The president of the Faith and Freedom Network, Gary Randall, thinks it's too close to marriage.

Other religious leaders says this is the wrong fight. The leader of Positive Christian Agenda, Joseph Fuiten, says it will undermine their position in the coming fight over gay marriage.

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