Votes are still being counted, but a measure that extends the domestic partnership registry to include all the rights offered to married couples is showing signs of passing in Washington state.
Wednesday’s latest count shows support for Referendum 71. If passed, it will uphold the new rights given to domestic partners. Referendum 71 is leading with 52.8 percent (555,782 votes) versus 48.2 percent (516,834 votes). Tuesday, R71 was leading only 51 to 49 percent.
In May, Gov. Chris Gregoire of Washington signed a bill that would give same-sex couples filed in the state’s existing domestic partnership registry the same rights as married couples. The bill was dubbed the “Everything But Marriage” bill. Shortly after, conservative interest groups collected enough signatures to place the bill on the November ballot box, in hopes that voters will overturn it.
In 2007, a domestic partnership registry was adopted by the state with a few laws, including organ donation and hospital visitation rights. About 6,000 domestic partnerships have been registered since then.
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– Simon Husted