Several groups in Washington state have announced plans to gather signatures for a state-wide ballot measure that would overturn recently passed legislation expanding the rights of domestic partners under Washington state law. According to The Herald, the Faith and Freedom Network and the Washington Values Alliance are among the groups who are seeking to overturn the legislation, which is currently awaiting Governor Chris Gregoire’s signature. Opponents of the legislation argue that the bill makes the legal rights and responsibilities of domestic partners and married couples nearly indistinguishable.
The bill expands the state’s two-year-old domestic partnership statute, which provided about 160 rights and responsibilities of the approximately 400 granted to married couples. According to the Human Rights Campaign, 250 additional rights and responsibilities are granted to couples with domestic partnerships under the current bill. The state House passed the bill last week in a 62 to 35 vote after the state Senate passed the bill on a 30 to 18 vote in March.
In a statement, Governor Gregoire said “This legislation will expand basic benefits, provide better financial security and ensure equal treatment for domestic partners living in Washington state. Our state is one that thrives on diversity. We have to respect and protect all families that make up our communities.”