Washington State Voters Approve Statewide Domestic Partnership Law

Today the voters in the state of Washington approved Referendum
. By voting “approve,” voters retained the domestic
partnership laws that were passed on May 18, 2009 during the
legislative session. This domestic partnership law provides legal
protections for same-sex couples and seniors who are in committed
relationships in the State of Washington.

These laws are vitally important to lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender (LGBT) families. They enable domestic partners to take
unpaid leave to care for a critically ill loved one without being
fired, to cover a partner in family health insurance, and to make
sure hard-earned pension and death benefits protect children when a
parent dies.

Statement of Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director, Family Equality

“Today was a victory for family equality in Washington. This
decision sends a clear message to the entire country that there is
a board support for family values, which includes all families. 
This vote is significant to the welfare of LGBT families in the
state of Washington, where thousands of parents are raising
thousands of children. These children deserve the protection and
recognition afforded to them through Referendum 71. Family Equality
Council is energized by this ruling, which appropriately recognizes
LGBT families who have long struggled to support, protect and
provide for one another despite lack of legal family

The majority vote of approval was the final obstacle to having this
law enacted. The law had previously been adopted by the state
Legislature and signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire.

LGBT family support was a key instrument in the successful passage
of Referendum 71. These families told their stories about why the
domestic partnership law was important to them, changing hearts,
minds and votes. Family Equality Council is the leading LGBT family
advocacy organization and is a proud partner of Washington Families
Standing Together, and the Courage Campaign state equality