The Washington House of Representatives passed a bill yesterday that will afford registered domestic partners all of the rights and obligations afforded to married couples. The bill passed the state’s Senate earlier this year, and the governor has indicated that she will sign it into law.
Washington has had a domestic partnership registry since July 2007; however, registered domestic partners were initially afforded only a limited number of the benefits and obligations associated with marriage, including hospital visitation rights, inheritance rights, and priority in being allowed to make medical decisions on behalf of an incapacitated partner who has not executed an advance directive. That list of benefits was expanded last year. Once signed into law, in the words of one legislator: ”This bill completes our work on domestic partnerships by making sure that we state clearly our intention to treat domestic partners in our state equally.”