Monday, October 19, 2009

Voters to settle issue of rights for same-sex couples--Ref 71

HeraldNet: Voters to settle issue of rights for same-sex couples:
"Referendum 71 leaves the decision to voters to keep or discard a law that would recognize that same-sex couples have all the rights and benefits enjoyed by married couples under state law, except the ability to be legally wed.

“The issues it raises are fairness and equal rights under the law for families who cannot marry,” said Doug Honig, communications director for the ACLU, one of 251 organizations pushing for the measure's approval.

Though the law in question also applies to unmarried heterosexual senior couples, most of the roughly 6,200 state-registered domestic partnerships in Washington involve gays and lesbians.

“We're basically asking 90 percent of the state what the other 10 percent get in terms of access to basic rights and benefits,” said Rep. Marko Liias, D-Edmonds. “For 12,000 people it means a lot. For everyone else, you won't notice.”"

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