Washington State House Passes Domestic Partnership Bill
SEATTLE — On April 10, 2007, the Washington State House of Representatives passed House Bill 1351, which is expected to be signed into law shortly. This legislation will result in the establishment of a domestic partnership registry that will provide eligible couples who register their partnerships with critical legal protections under Washington law.
“Same-sex couples deserve the legal protections afforded by this important legislation,” says Sands McKinley, Managing Partner of the Seattle family law firm McKinley Irvin, PLLC. “The challenge will be to help same-sex couples understand the limitations of the new law, and to take the additional legal steps necessary to protect their families.”
This legislation will have a significant impact on the legal representation of same-sex couples and their families. It will provide same-sex couples with some of the benefits of marriage, such as the ability to visit an ill or injured partner in the hospital, the ability to participate in medical decision-making for an incapacitated partner, and the ability to bring a wrongful death action following the death of a partner.
McKinley encourages same-sex couples to look at the new legislation as a solid foundation to be bolstered through the use of existing legal instruments. Same-sex couples will continue to need the protections provided by such instruments as health care directives, domestic partnership agreements, wills, durable powers of attorney, and adoptions. McKinley recommends that these couples consult with a qualified family law lawyer to ensure that their relationships and families receive the greatest degree of protection available under the law.
The law also provides the same legal protections for opposite sex couples when at least one partner is over the age of sixty-two.
Sands McKinley, managing partner of McKinley Irvin, PLLC.
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