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Congratulations Washingtonians

Timothy Kincaid

December 3rd, 2009

Today Washington State’s Senate Bill 5688 goes into effect. It was this bill, which upgrades Domestic Partnerships to contain all the rights, privileges, responsibilities and obligations of marriage, which was threatened by Referendum 71.

On November 4th, the voters of Washington State declared that they support full rights and responsibilities for same-sex couples.

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Frequent Flier
December 3rd, 2009 | LINK

Why isn’t this our national strategy. We could have full DP/CU rights in a great many more states by now had we not chased the unrealistic goal of marriage first… This society does not like ‘radical’ change, even if those changes are with respect to equal rights for all citizens. I firmly believe that here in the US the only viable national strategy has always been to go for marriage through the courts in states where constitutional amendments are unlikely/too difficult to get passed, and to go for CUs/DPs everywhere else as a way to allow for access to federal benefits, and eventually marriage equality. The push for marriage in moderate large states has been a disaster, so much that the WA victory which is so significant has been drowned out by the flood of bad press which now weighs on every federal politician’s mind while considering things like DADT and ENDA. Imagine if instead of the defeats we have suffered we were instead pressing Congress with newly enacted couple recognition in IL, PA, MD, NY, MN, MI… We’d have momentum and a much stronger platform to have progress on DADT, ENDA and DOMA. As it stands we will now face even tougher battles on these issues than before with an emboldened right.

Martin
December 3rd, 2009 | LINK

“Why isn’t this our national strategy. We could have full DP/CU rights in a great many more states by now had we not chased the unrealistic goal of marriage first…”

Several reasons. First, the organizations most vigorously opposed to SSM are also opposed to DP/CU rights. They’ll fight DPs and CUs because they oppose ANY recognition of same-sex relationships.

Second, DP/CU rights are not portable from state to state or even from municipality to municipality. If my partner and I get a CU in Illinois, that doesn’t help us if one of us is in the hospital in South Dakota, California, etc. Even when CUs/DPs are treated as portable, there’s no standard package of rights and privileges associated with them, the way there is with marriage. So CUs and DPs aren’t worth much more than the paper they’re printed on.

Finally, there’s no reason to assume that treating CUs and DPs as “first steps” to marriage is a GOOD thing. As we’ve seen, people who oppose SSM are likely to oppose CUs/DPs precisely because they see it as a step toward SSM. Other people are likely to see CUs/DPs as a stopping point (“Why do you people need SSM? You already have CUs!”).

CUs and DPs are NOT a way to gain access to federal benefits. DOMA is still in the way.

Burr
December 3rd, 2009 | LINK

CUs and DPs would be helpful in future court cases and debates however, as it would further drive the point home that they are NOT marriage and NOT equal. It at least takes the conversation past just the “one man, one woman” bullsh*t.

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