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Washington State Enacts Domestic Partnerships

Jim Burroway

April 21st, 2007

Charlene Strong experienced a terrible horrer last December when her partner, Kathryn Flemming was trapped by rising water in her basement studeo in Seattle. Strong was initially barred from her partner’s hospital room, and after her partner died, she was barred from  planning the funeral.

Today, Sharlene Strong looked on as Washington state governor Chris Gregoire signed domestic partnerships bill into law which gives gay and lesbian couples just a few of the rights that come with marriage. These rights include  hospital visitation rights, the ability to authorize autopsies and organ donations and inheritance rights when there is no will. The new law takes affect in July.

Meanwhile, civil union bills continue to wind their way though the Oregon and New Hampshire legislatures. A civil union bill passed the Oregon house, and awaits action by the Senate. Gov. Ted Kulongoski is expected to sign it. In New Hampshire, Gov. John Lynch announced that he will sign that state’s civil unions bill if it passes the Senate. And in Colorado, Gov. Bill Ritter has pledged his support for a gay adoption bill over the objections of the Catholic Conference of Colorado and Focus on the Family.

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