Most Domestic Partnerships In Washington Will Automatically Become Marriages June 30th

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

LGBT USA Pride FlagJune 30th, 2014 will mark a significant change in nomenclature and status for same sex couples who had previously registered their domestic partnership starting in 2012. After this date, these couples’ status will change automatically to “married.” This presents an opportunity to become married without the administrative overhead of now filing for a marriage license. Couples after June 30th who enter into a union will be considered married.

Following legislation resulting from Initiative 74, approved by state voters, nearly seven thousand domestic partnerships will convert. An exception in the law is for domestic partnerships having at least one spouse at least sixty two years of age which will not convert. The reason stated in the statute is:

While these couples are entitled to marry under the state’s marriage statutes, some social security and pension laws nevertheless make it impractical for these couples to marry. For this reason, chapter 156, Laws of 2007 specifically allows couples to enter into a state registered domestic partnership if one of the persons is at least sixty-two years of age, the age at which many people choose to retire and are eligible to begin collecting social security and pension benefits.

State law will continue to offer the Domestic Partner designation for these couples and will allow these couples to obtain a Marriage Certificate from the Department of Health.

In an unusual measure of public information the Office of the Secretary of State is required to provide notification to those couples to help ensure they are informed of this benefit and what the process provides them.

Within sixty days after the effective date of this section, the secretary of state shall send a letter to the mailing address on file of each same-sex domestic partner registered under chapter 26.60 RCW notifying the person that Washington’s law on the rights and responsibilities of state registered domestic partners will change in relation to certain same-sex registered domestic partners.

Additionally, the law now allows couples registered as Domestic Partners in another state or jurisdiction to obtain marriage licenses in Washington.

While this is certainly to the LGBT community and others a significant step forward in the direction of full acceptance of same sex marriage by the government, there is much work ahead on the federal level.

By Darren Smith


Washington Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6239 (PDF)
Washington Office of the Secretary of State

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17 thoughts on “Most Domestic Partnerships In Washington Will Automatically Become Marriages June 30th”

  1. common law marriage and meretricious relationships are recognized by a lot of states where no formal “marriage” has occurred, it was just a matter of time before similar standards were applied to same-sex relationships in Washington.

  2. Good, though I would suggest ability to opt out of switching from domestic partnership to marriage. Not all couples might want it switched to marriage.

  3. The laptop marrying person is using the same legal theory used by gays for same-sex marriages. I am already married and my wife will kill me both literally and figuratively if I married someone else, including my laptop or the dog.

  4. ” I think it should be left up to the states and not the judges.”

    That does not appear to be working. Equal Protection seems to be knocking down this argument at a rapacious rate.

    How long must people be denied basic rights so your “state’s rights” argument can come to fruition? Why do you insist they must wait? Why has no court agreed with this position?

    No one appears to be in a mood to wait for Mississippi to get with the program and stop busy-bodying into people’s private decisions. Equal protection will see to it, even there.

  5. Paul,
    When a law or policy currently carried out by a state is unconstitutional, the judges have a duty to declare it unconstitutional.

    1. rafflaw – I know I am going to raise hackles here but I think state judges should stick with the state constitution and federal judges and stick with the federal constitution. And how many times to state judges or district courts judges get overturned?

  6. “Even the guy who wants to marry his porn loaded laptop has my approval.”
    Which tells me that his previous statement about support for gay marriage is a sham, and that he in fact, does nothing of the sort.

  7. Paul, have you seen that opponents of marriage equality have yet to win in open court? Appeals are very likely going to meet the same fate. Meanwhile, the victories for those who want to get married without your permission or approval are stacking up like cord wood.

    1. James – I am for same sex marriage, however, I think it should be left up to the states and not the judges. Even the guy who wants to marry his porn loaded laptop has my approval.

  8. [music]
    Two old maids…
    Laying in a bed.
    One turned over to the other and said.
    Lets stop my fingers getting tired.

  9. This is a trend.

    On Friday, a state judge in Arkansas held that a clause in the Arkansas Constitution was void because it is unconstitutional under the U.S. Constitution (Reuters).

    1. Dredd – did you read far enough down to see that the decision is going to be appealled?

  10. Las Vegas gave quicky divorces to couples or individuals who could afford to travel there and spend the six weeks, why shouldn’t Washington marry by fiat. What the heck, it is their state.

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