Washington State Expects Increase in Domestic Partnership Registrations

Referendum 71 expands domestic partnership registration

The law allowing same-sex partners to file for domestic partnerships in Washington State went into effect on December 3, exactly one month after voters extended these civil benefits to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

This past November 3, 52.5 percent of Washington voters approved Referendum 71, preserving expanded rights for registered domestic part- ners and distinguishing Washington as the first state to approve an LGBT marriage related measure at the ballot box, rather than through a judicial or legislative process.To date, no U.S. locality has granted full LGBT mar- riage rights through the elective process.

Since the bill, which enables same-gender partners to register for a domestic partnership, went into effect on December 3, the state has already seen an marked increase in such registrations, the Seattle Post- Intelligencer reported. Where previously 35 to 40 people filed a registra- tion every week, an average of 90 are now being filed.

Pamela Floyd, director of the Corporations and Charities Division, said in an interview for the Washington Secretary of State’s blog that her office is preparing for the increase in domestic partnership registrations.

“We do expect an increase in domestic partnerships and we have trained staff available to process registrations as received. We also expect busi- nesses and other state agencies, as well as partners, to be contacting our office for verification or documentation of registrations,” Floyd said. “We are updating our Web search to include both registration and termination dates and we have staff available to provide certified copies of docu- ments, if required.”

Some rights and responsibilities that same-gender registered partners now have include unemployment and disability insurance benefits, busi- ness succession rights, insurance and legal process rights, and workers’ compensation coverage.