Washington state Governor Chris Gregoire has signed a law expanding rights to gay and lesbian domestic partners.
Surrounded by about 300 people most of them gay and lesbian couples and their children Gov. Chris Gregoire on Monday signed legislation giving registered same-sex domestic partners all the rights and benefits that Washington now offers married couples.
The legislation expands on previous domestic-partnership laws by adding such partnerships to all remaining areas of state law that now address only married couples.
The measure also extends coverage to unmarried heterosexual couples when one person is at least 62.
As of Monday, there were 5,395 registered domestic partners, representing every county in the state.
The anti-equality folks are already working to gather enough signatures for a referendum to repeal the measure.
They will then have about 60 days until July 25 to collect 120,577 signatures. If they are successful, the law would be suspended until voters decide the referendum.
Several gay-rights advocacy groups, through a campaign called Decline 2 Sign, are seeking to raise money to turn back the challenge.
It’s amazing to me that anti-gay groups will spend tons of time and money – and force us to spend tons of time and money – to make sure we can’t visit our loved one in the hospital or get their social security or secure our property together or gain any of the other rights of marriage. Jesus, who had a lot to say about divorce, but nothing to say about gays and lesbians , would rather see these people spending their time clothing the naked and feeding the poor – but that’s boring work. It’s way more fun to make other human beings suffer for your bigotry than it is to improve the lives of others and celebrate love wherever we can find it.
Rev. Candace Chellew is the founder and Editor Emeritus of Whosoever. She earned her Masters of Theological studies at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., and trained as a spiritual director through the Omega Point program of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. Her first book, “Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians”, was published by Jossey-Bass in 2008. She currently serves as the Spiritual Director of Jubilee! Circle in Columbia, S.C.